Ars Electronica 1986
Festival-Program 1986
Back to:
Festival 1979-2007


Giancarlo Canteruccio: Angeli di Luce - Angels Of Light

Point of departure is the Book of The Apokalypse by St. John. A fascinating topic, which right from the first moment of work proved to be both difficult and risky, but full of cues for the staging of Angeli di Luce, a play we produced following the long and controversial "Eneide" which later on should be called a small "classic of the Italian research theatre". With Angeli di Luce, it was a matter of going ahead: we had to solve a series of problems, take new decisions and put into reality others already made. So by and by this led to choosing the revelation topic which proved to be the most suitable for a continuation along the same staging guidelines we had stuck to in the past years. Therefore, after Eneide it was not a question of looking for a defined work of fiction, it was rather a question of finding a topic important enough, through which it could be possible to create a script of atmosphere, of feelings, and of discussing this topic through an electronic technique—both in the stage set and in the project's language.

The Book of the Apocalypse analyzed rather in the sense of revelation, of disclosure rather than of fiction, inevitably required theoretical research work, due to find in contemporary terms the necessary references for understanding the "condition". The state of mind that must be attained prior to being able to cope with such complex a topic. In this sense, the literary and theoretic references between Henry Michaux's hallucinatory status and Peter Handke's prophetic writing, from Edmond Jabes' questionings to Benjamin's Angelus Novus contributed to tracing the course of the play.

Angeli di Luce slowly takes shape in an environmental atmosphere that could be an underground shelter for men out of time, but also an absolute space where dimensions are recognizable only through faint light rays and through fragments of bodies and objects. Two hands moving in a mud pool right during the moment when the Human detaches itself from its original matter. A book given as the revelation of knowledge, of writing, and a mouth that devours the paper, symbolizing sufferings and simultaneously the ecstasy of the book containing the beginning and the end. These are fragments existing within the confined space of an hallucinatory condition, where dreams as well as reality may begin.

This is apparently a rather abstract indication through which we gradually approach Angeli di Luce's voyage.

Gradually the initial fragmentary atmosphere seems to attempt to recompose itself in that kind of darkness where you cannot see with your eyes, but with your mind. A darkness rushing to become light, a dazzling light. Terrorized, squeezed against a shutter, there emits a fastidious, a real sound—as does a town when awakening. The person is terrified by reality and enters into the infinity of dreams, space is revealed to him in the instant of creation, light geometries, as in a fast metamorphosis, revealing the stone. Three rocks of a magic colour slowly unfold as to become a book revealing the light—and once again are hurled into that infinite space, where shapes may evolve and grow up into a structure, permitting access to knowledge. From the gold of the alchemists to the constellations of infinity, everything falls apart, just to show its real identity. No shape is permanent and everything happens in response to a continuous, endless process. Men wanders through space as a defenseless mass, sometimes as a multiplication of one and the same being, sometimes as the personification of a mere "monstrosity".

Just like the shapes hitherto presented as images, space as a surface does not persist, it breaks apart to reveal a greater depth and multiplying directions.

Out of the confused geometry the bodies slowly reach a more systematic status, comprehensible as a shape but not as a subject. They dance, facing a pulsating sun that generates life and leads back to reality, a confused reality where communication is uncertain and where the past is referred to in a status of a total hallucinatory vertigo. Here the journey towards the light becomes more intense, and the men—carried away by extraordinary magic—devour the light, the revelation: "… and I took the booklet from the angel's hand and I swallowed it. It tasted sweet like honey but when I had swallowed it, my stomach turned very bitter." The laser is used as the perfect synthesis of light, as writing and as the Verb, as a line that starts from Earth and is lost in the infinite. The light transporting microscopic particles of energy to become a possible new language. A new energy involves the bodies that are catapulted into a status where the"perspective" seems to materialize in a continuous dissolution and re-creation of space. Where the concepts of dimension and duration become arbitrary, where space and time are indecipherable, something extraordinary may happen, anything can happen.

Lorenzo Mango
The scene as an empty space, as a desert, opened the vague signs of imagination, a white sheet of paper decided to get written upon and thus, then, the theatre as the writing of this emptiness, as the creation of a condition of possessions and asceticism. It is an abstract or astral theatre that comes out, desiredly, desperately distant from today's histories or from quotations from the antique. This is the way of KRYPTON, from the "Eneide" to "Angeli di Luce", from the ecstasy of an omnipotent technology fooling around with classicalness, assuming the latter, to a precipitous itinerary to the final reasons and the roots of a language.

It is a LOGICAL passage, because it sprung from labour to poetry, but it is not an easy passage, because it includes the hypothesis of the radical choice between movement and immobilization, between image and abstraction. It is these denials of the form (or of the FORMALITIES, rather) that push KRYPTON towards submitting their system of expression to a severe test by having it react to the symbol, the imaginary and the visionary. This is a laborious confrontation, because it centralizes the voyage, the travel rather than the end, the target: the painful administration of an idea is exhibited, the anxiousness of assuming a shape and of getting extinguished in the fire of passion and of thought.

It is the choice of a theatrical DESTINY, a doomed choice because it overacts the tension within the opus and on the other hand wants it contaminated by a desire of purity, where in the theatrical must not be seen but felt. It is an ambitious vocation of a great artistic dignity altogether, a quest for a proper personal truth beyond the capacity of administrating its own stock of images.

This is how KRYPTON approaches new technologies and instruments today. Not so much in order to draw icons from it but rather to activate atmospheres of strong feelings and to make the spectator fall into the abyss of the imaginary. Technology, therefore, is transforming the stone into the page, the air into turbines. To have bodies devoured by light until sacrificing the shadows. And technology means the possibility of abandoning the world of things for turning towards the inventions of fantasy, for creating out of nought. For setting free a visionary is realizing a new edition of the myth. It is technical mythology, then, because the two expressions always are linked and because it is on the basis of the language where the myth tries to acquire physical shape. And it is no longer a question of quoting the shapes, of exultating the physiognomies, of reproducing the styles; the point is rather to enter into the depth where reality speaks an enigmatic dumb language of its own. The problem of the sense is re-formulated. ANGELI DI LUCE is, therefore, a performance penetrating beyond perception, searching for a sympathetic communication with the spectator. The sensation stimulates the imaginary chords of the soul, we must enter into magic and into the mystery of the dissolution of shape, into the last grade of flesh, where solid matter disappears, and also into the painful stage of the word, where everything begins, because for the first time it was said. The first and the last, the beginning and the end are extreme sensations that KRYPTON compels us to feel and also the apocalyptic reference to St. John, the dreamer and writer. Rather than giving oneself away to the catastrophy of images distributed numerously at random we are captured in the silence of expectation, when we see the world cancelling itself and we wait for the arrival of a new first WORD.

ANGELI DI LUCE presents itself quite correctly as an example of theatre that tries to squeeze out its brains in order to get away without losing itself to the feelings of perception. Therefore—still—enjoys jumping in unforeseen runs, in false fires. Violent intensity as well as languish open to KRYPTON a difficult and novel way, a road that ought to be feared—and therefore must be gone through and is gone in one breath.