In February 2020, Marisa Zanotti spent three days filming with dance artist KJ Mortimer. These recordings in turn became the basis for three films, presented here, set in the world of the Rats, the student dancers of the Paris Opera, and Giselle's author, Théophile Gautier.
#1 A looking machine
While Gautier was working with the Rats in Paris, Louis Daguerre, who had been a designer and set painter at the Paris Opéra, was revolutionising the recording of images. His daguerreotype, the first publicly available photographic process, was introduced worldwide in 1839, two years before Giselle's première.
#2 Gautier's dream
Between 1844 and 1849, Gautier spent time at the Hotel Lauzun where he organised the Club des Haschischins, attending séances and briefly experimenting with hashish.
#3 Messages from the Rats
For his whole life, Gautier was in love with an unattainable woman, his first Giselle, Carlotta Grisi.
These films responds to Felicia McCarren's writing on exchanges of power between dancer and audiences in what she calls 'an economy of gazes' between dancers and audiences at the Paris Opéra and her research into the world of the coulisses, the backstage. (Felicia McCarren, Dance Pathologies,pp 89 -105)