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On balls and brains
Lecture / performance

Festival Les Urbaines
, Lausanne, december 2013
.perf 2014
, Piano Nobile, Geneva, february 2014
Curated by the Centre culturel suisse, Paris
for the Festival d'histoire de l'art, may 2014
Reims - Scènes d'Europe, FRAC - Champagne Ardenne, january 2016

The performance stages an investigation on a painting by Hieronymus Bosch, most commonly referred to as The Conjurer. Considered to be one of the earliest representations of magic in the history of Western painting, this work surprisingly appears to anticipate the most contemporary forms of manipulating collective attention.

The painting has also known a particularly troubled fate: re-appropriated by editorial cartoonists after May 68, stolen by a founder of French revolutionary group Action Directe in 1979, and probably concealing one of the major visual enigma of its time…

Somewhere between a conference and a magic trick, "On balls and brains" alternates methods of criminal, artistic, political and social investigation, following the tracks of the various people and objects who have shared the singular destiny of this image.


> investigation: The Conjurer: towards an "ecology of attention"
> texts: L’escamoteur: économie de l’illusion, écologie de l’attention
L’escamoteur, ou le crime envisagé

Sketches for the conference: movements and projections
On balls and brains at Piano Nobile Photo Emmanuelle Bayart


On balls and brains at Festival "Reims - Scènes d'Europe" Photos Martin Argyroglo
Trailer of the performance