I’m sure you saw the posters about DAU in Paris metro… DAU Paris is an art and cultural project of a big scale initiated by Russian film director Ilya Khrzhanovsky. To understand this project better, a project that is inspired by Soviet theorist Lev Landau (or Dau for friends), Nobel price in physics in 1962, you have to go back in time. Between 2009 and 2011, 400 people have agreed to an uncommon experience: being cut off their daily lives to join the DAU Institute built in Kharkov, Ukraine and relive three decades (1938 to 1968) of the Soviet era.
It’s vital to add that participants, who are no professionals, come from different backgrounds and have played their own job. There were scientists, artists, philosophers, Orthodox priests, shamans, waiters, sweepers, post office agents, secret police… And to create this organism, a 12,000-sqm set has been built then destroyed, 10,000 extras have been hired and 400 main roles have been picked up after 392,000 auditions. Between fiction and documentary, between dream and reality, the DAU project tells you about stories proper to human species: love and sex, violence and betrayal… The whole in a context of USSR and scientific researches.
Following this experience, 700 hours of 33mm film roll have been touched leading to 13 feature films.
Today, DAU invites people to dive into the Soviet era through a totally unique experiment, at the crossroad of several disciplines. Offering much more than contemporary art, cinema, music and even drama, the DAU project has to be seen like a mirror leading to a bunch of fundamental questions about life and human condition.
In our dear Paris, you’re expected from Thursday January 24 to Sunday February 17, 2019 at the Théâtre du Châtelet, Théâtre de la Ville and Centre Pompidou. On the occasion, the two theaters – currently under work – have been turned into places of experimentation and exploration with human mannequins, beds set in several corners and screening rooms.
In addition to the screening of DAU feature films revealing daily life scenes ad stories lived at the Institute, the project offers immersive installations, meeting areas with sages, performances, conferences on theology, quantum physics or geopolitics, walks in a place inhabited by an original music creation… The whole in a setting that changes non-stop. The experience aims at being multi-sensory. On the spot, you can even eat at the “Shitty Hole”, the canteen of the project!
For being immersed even more, experiences are different following visitors, suiting as many personalities and minds as you can share.
In Beaubourg, a reconstituted Soviet flat houses world-famous physicists who lived at the Institute. The public is invited to observe them through seven one-way mirrors.
Please note that from night fall to sunrise, these three sites are linked in the sky by the Triangle Rouge [Red Triangle], a light sculpture inspired by Russian avant-garde in the early 20th century.
Note that many celebrities have agreed to take part in this collaborative project. Have contributed to DAU voice-over: Isabelle Huppert, Willem Dafoe, Monica Bellucci, Hannah Schygulla, Isabelle Adjani, Iris Berben, Gérard Depardieu, Lars Eidinger, Fanny Ardant and even Barbara Sukowa.
And to access to the DAU universe, you have to purchase a 6-month, 24-hour or unlimited visa at the Visa Center set on the Place du Châtelet. In the last two cases, “your travel will be customized based on a psychometric test you’ll fill in when signing up”. To discover 24/7, the DAU experiment forbids electronic items. Lockers will be available at the entrance.
True cultural oddball always evolving, DAU is hard to sum up because of how ambitious and disturbing the project is. A project the public – visitor, voyeur and actor – is led to make live and evolve continuously. We couldn’t recommend you more staying several hours to fully become filled with the project as much as possible and make it live for real.
So, are you ready to live the DAU Paris experiment out?