I was lucky to catch Philippe Parreno's epic exhibition Anywhere Anywhere Out of the World, days before it closed at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris. The building itself is impressive, completed in 1937 for the International Exhibition of Arts and Technologies, through several incarnations it became the Palais de Tokyo - Site de création contemporaine in 2002. The architecture joins with the exhibition in becoming the work. Parreno describes the experience in an interview with Blouin ArtInfo:
In this show, I wanted people to enter a robot's lair and feel that something has taken charge of them. When I talk about "creating attention," that's what I'm referring to: something guides us in space in a non-authoritarian way. So I tried to find automation principles. For example, the piano version of Igor Stravinsky's "Petrushka" puts everything into swing, into operation.
The effect is wonderful. As multiple player pianos act like guides on your journey through the massive building, other sound works shake your bones with mega-bass vibrations. Your grasp on reality is surrendered when a wall moves, a bookcase rotates, and the stairs lead nowhere; leaving you with an inability to determine if you're "allowed" to be here. It felt dangerous (it wouldn't have been allowed in Canada). Massive rooms dedicated to single ideas cut through blithe cynicism with the brutality of their insistence. This is perhaps an impression of a world where multiple videogame-like fictions are wired directly into our minds yet the material world is left in shambles. I was most taken with the arena sized black room housing multiple white marquee signs. Like the lights of vegas, yet albino, the bulbs came on and off in an orchestrated symphony, advertising nothing and strangely God-like with the people gazing up at them.