On View


L’illusion d’une promesse

20 Jun - 27 Jul, 2024. Paris

Exhibition details:
Héloïse Chassepot
l’illusion d’une promesse
Jun 20 – Jul 27, 2024

Opening Thursday June 20th

1, rue Fromentin
75009 Paris

Hi, I am a professor now and I love it here. I am developing the curriculum I most want. Please find attached an informal proposal for a dark ride related to Heloise Chasspot’s exhibition.


With this course, I am also toying with implementing the clause that it’s for young boys only—no girls allowed. [note: A dark ride, in my understanding, has come to mean something even less specific than ‘ghost train’; just a passenger in a guided vehicle through a series of rooms, an interior sequence of illusions. These often take on narrative details that relate the visitor’s experience to a fiction of intellectual property.]

Vehicle: Cart with facing seat banks, as on a beloved metro car. Only one space is used for
the passenger. Solo rider in the aisle. The other seats have rectangular screens,
tablet-sized, wedged into the seat like placeholders; they show advertisements, like
in a taxi (local business feeling). The seat beside the passenger (less prominent)
has a looped commercial for a bridal boutique. Diagonal across has an ad for
silicone lube. Directly across is an ad for a pet store. They are not bright

Room 1 [interior, doctor’s office]

Looking out the window in a waiting room. Ornate joinery—the pictorial space outside the window dapples quickly with clouded light. The tree glows then falls into shadow, the two buildings in the background are a sociological centre and a cinema, and on the side in the middle-ground is the mall. Light moves with the efficiency of a funicular to the helipad; movement often suspended but tolerable. Here for a while.

Passenger seat turns and begins to move down a corridor. A toilet door opens and flushes – a clearing throat, a fart and then a gush of air freshener. The patter of dog paws is heard behind the seats. Then with a door opening, the smell of the central business district; concrete, salt wind, glass, dust.

Room 2 [corridor]

Objects have a more insistent life than most people give them credit for. This room establishes this. Mechanically rigged, an hourglass, and brimming coupe glass contain the same coloured liquid. Brownish-yellow-clear. As the coupe drifts closer, the smell and fizz suggest it’s sparkling apple juice. The poured glass beckons to you, magnetically drawing the passenger seats closer. A whooshing sound from the reception counter is the representation of the intake forms at the front desk. A flurry of papers shoot out, then appear on the seat screens beside the passenger. Voices whisper the line that gets focused on the screen. ‘What orientation are you anyway?’ A checklist flickers and follows: Portrait/Landscape/Horizontal/Other. Seat judders sensually.

The coupe glass has dragged you towards a staffroom with an open door. A spread of evening nibbles are laid out on a table cloth, some home made cakes, and some standing cheese twists in puff pastry. Prop-styling and foreshortening makes the carriage seem to tip towards the door frame. The hourglass of liquid keeps swirling down.

Transition [digital]

Both the hourglass and coupe glass, as animated holograms, expand and grow in size. The real glass objects recede from view as the carriage continues to move. The hologram coupe glass of juice has condensation, which seems to solidify and bulge out. It grows in size, the smell of apple getting stronger as well. Hologram shows the glass lifting and pouring the liquid all over you. Gushing with strings of colour until a puff of smoke; passenger is in the next room.

Room 3 [printing press]

The passenger seems to be reduced in scale. The smell of apple is gone, now patchouli and newsprint; sensorially matching the location, which seems to be a point hovering inside an offset print facility. With as much old world charm as a strip mall, the printing press is conflated with an old cinema newsreel. A fanfare plays, and an old-timey androgynous announcer reads over a Tannoy, overwhelmingly loud.

Breaking news: caution for the development of fresh trends, he thinks she’s a pioneer. She cannot be found: dismantling the work of an ikebana expert, frigid calorie counting; locking herself in a chic linen closet, refusing all recommendations for new books or music. She cannot be found: pushing her palm in her girlfriends’ face as they list the vitamins and supplements that actually work; she is not strolling past the patisserie and yearning that a delivery service could bring créme pat in choux to bed. She can be found by the delivery service, performed by a noir antihero straight out of a technicolour film, dressed in a turtleneck and a briefs. She can be found nourishing leather, putting parsley on everything.
THE NEW RURAL, AGGRESSIVE HIGH STREET FEMININE has a cautious distance from nature, a deliberate coyness with easy suggestions of gender and all it seems to now mean. The new rural, aggressive high-street feminine is satisfied with the production of new things that look somewhat like old things. A portal of accurate colour is the same thing as the real thing, just like a facsimile of romance, pornography, or belief.

The archway of a crystal palace starts to bear down on where the passenger is seated. Coming in to crush the cranium, it’s like a fabric band that grows over the eyes.

4 [television]

Dark static. The passenger seems to no longer move, and instead their seat rotates, taking them out of the configuration of facing seats, and instead showing a large television. The passenger is condemned to watch compilations of Say Yes to the Dress. A portal to be dealing with the decoration and apparatus of the wedding beside the wedding itself. Bridal parties descend on Kleinfeld, a wedding dress emporium, and a range of telegenic brides are selected to share their journey on Wscreen, an amalgamation of projection, expectation, mental image, fantasy, arriving via the bride-to-be and her entourage. Kleinfeld has consultants, but there seems to be one – Randy Fenoli – who is beloved by brides, many of whom are fans of the show. The passenger is watching bridal party after bridal party, and many of the bridal consultants also bring in Randy—Randy for the women, before the ceremony. An entourage almost never loves the first dress. There is always a type of calculation involved. It’s easiest to declare an affiliation with Team Bride, because it’s safer than exercising the cruelty of family and friendship in projecting what a wedding should look like. If there’s doubt, putting the bride in a veil can bring waterworks. It’s apparent that accessorising is costuming. A bolt of sex is felt when an image or series of images flashes on screen as the bride will occasionally mention their fiancé, but it doesn’t last long. The body is neutralised by what it’s put in, that shroud and its emotional explication. [Note: This is for boys only, maybe.]

5 [the exit]

The television continues to play. The passenger watches bridal boutique montages for a very long time. The fidelity of the audio goes a little fuzzy as gradually the brightness of the screen is brought into softer contrast, lights softly glowing on a room full of iron radiators. Strips of leather slither between the bars like ribbons on a loom. The passenger begins to feel a waist belt on their seat, but remains delightfully passive. The weave is expanded in and out. The television screen, still in front of the passenger, lingers on the clips and straps that secure the bridal corsets, which are not fitted, rather, temporarily fastened onto the bride. A violent cut is a gap by another name. A butterfly bandage lands on the gap and closes it. The ride ends with the passenger tilted onto their back in a seated position – lock-kneed on a gurney. It smells of antiseptic. The passenger’s belt unbuckles, and they are lightly ejected.

There is no reason to wait. Say yes, now …

– Ivan Cheng

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