Mixed and multimedia elements
Man and the Community Pavilion

The film/theatre experiment Citérama was part of the Man in the Community Pavilion. The physical building, designed by Arthur Erickson, was a pyramid of logs culminating in a cone-shaped roof open to the sky; as visitors passed underneath, they were able to catch a “utopian vista” 140 feet overhead. The theatre consisted of two stacked concentric platforms. The smaller one rotated faster than the larger one and stopped at intermittent points, so that the two-hundred-person audience arranged around the installation could make connections among the various images. Each platform was divided into twelve stages, and the stages were three-dimensional settings. Six of the twelve inner stages carried slide screens, themselves divided in half, each with 350 images, for a total of seven hundred rear-projected images created as a “film fixe.” The intention was a “collage in motion.”

On the smaller platform, the projected images included a montage of children eating and going to school, concrete and iron being poured into moulds, television screens being manufactured, violence and war. In a post-humanist style that served to animate and amplify the museification and suspended animation, Pop and Op broke down the boundaries between high and low art, between different media, between audience and spectacle. There was an augmented sense of theatrical spectacle with randomness created through the effect of rings moving at different speeds, ensuring that each audience member had a different experience and made different associations. Yet the “performance” was framed by the same universal theme of the city and technology as seen in terms of “youth, scientific research, consumerism, love, communication, violence, authority.” The soundtrack, a combination of jazz, concrete sound, and recorded voices, prefigured surround-sound techniques, creating an immersive environment. (Janine Marchessault)