Gabriel’s announcement to Mary is a common theme in Western art. Particularly during the Italian Renaissance, artistic portrayals of the Annunciation have revealed subtle details in geometric perspective. Some say that we are experiencing a whole new era, often associated with a new Renaissance, a digital Renaissance. Does this mean that a new, digital perspective has arrived to reveal our increasingly digital world? Has our world become too digital, when we become so cradled and overwhelmed by the flow of communications that we are swept away and sucked into our screens? The poetry of objects is being overwritten by a deaf mechanism of zeros and ones. Tiptoe to the Annunciation is inspired by these themes of interpreting the Annunciation and online poetry, attempting to reintegrate humans by breaking the inexorable, unbearable rhythm of the Internet. Finding and drawing poetry in online networks has become a major challenge in reintroducing a natural, human rhythm. Each dancer is contained in a bottle connected to the Internet, called an angelino (created in 2009 by albertine meunier). Each angelino is activated by a predefined word taken from the text. The ballet company comprises the following 12 dancers:
Dancer n°1 dances to the word « ange »
Dancer n°2 dances to the word « gabriel »
Dancer n°3 dances to the word « nazareth »
Dancer n°4 dances to the word « vierge »
Dancer n°5 dances to the word « grâce »
Dancer n°6 dances to the word « dieu »
Dancer n°7 dances to the word « fils »
Dancer n°8 dances to the word « marie »
Dancer n°9 dances to the word « ombre »
Dancer n°10 dances to the word « saint esprit »
Dancer n°11 dances to the word « éternellement »
Dancer n°12 dances to the word « impossible »
Hence, the music of the Annunciation is played entirely by the flow of “chosen” words mentioned in published Twitter messages.
Every minute, Twitter is searched for these 12 words, and each dancer whose word is found begins to dance, according to the following ballet score: Twitter is searched, every minute. The score is reset to zero, every minute. If, for example, the word « ange » (dancer n°1) and the word « impossible » (dancer n°12) are found in the Twitter feeds, then dancer n°1 dances from the 11th second to the 24th second, and dancer n°12 dances from the 21st second to the 34th second; this is how the Annunciation is interpreted. This installation of dancers nonetheless requires manual intervention. The angelino’s bottle contains a music box, which must be wound up by hand; within one complete cycle, the dancer can interpret her chosen word up to 20 times. In order for her to continue, the angelino must be manually wound up again. During the ballet, both live and online viewers can interact remotely with the angelino of their choice by Tweeting one of the chosen words. For example, mentioning the word “ange” in a Tweet will activate Dancer n°1, while the word “ombre” will activate Dancer n°9. Without human intervention, the duration of the piece depends on each angelino, which consumes the music box’s mechanism little by little with each published word. Without human intervention, each angelino can interpret her chosen word up to 20 times. If human intervention is on hand to manually wind up the angelino’s music boxes, the piece can play indefinitely, carried by the flow of public Twitter feeds.