ProjectElectro Bacchanalia – a peep box

Electro Bacchanalia – a peep box

Electro Bacchanalia is a museum installation that aims to stimulate young visitors’ interests in the motif of an old master’s painting and make a flirtatious reference to contemporary lifestyle.

The installation consists of a reproduction of a painting in a peep box. The original painting was done sometime around 1640 by a French painter who belonged to the Nicolas Chaperon circle. The motif of this painting is a Bacchanalia, which was a type of feast in ancient Rome that honoured Bacchus, and often lead to such wild debauchery and excesses that the authorities tried to undermine them.While using the aesthetics of the traditional peep show, Electro Bacchanalia is realised using modern technology, and is based on video composites rather than still images or objects as in the historical peep boxes. Parts of the scenery are cut out in several apparent layers using material properties such as shadowing in order to invoke the classical toy theatre.

How it works

Electro Bacchanalia is a modern interpretation of a peep show, set in a traditional 17th century style wooden box. One side of the box displays a replica of the painting. In the middle of the painting the visitor finds a small peephole. When looking into the box through the painting, a stage-like setup of the painting is revealed. Two of the characters – the faun and the woman in the center of the painting – are brought to life in the scenery inside the box. As music flows from the box, the couple starts dancing. As soon as you move away from the peephole, the music stops. If you look again, another song and dance will be played out.