Nocturna (Bac! part 2)

Living in Babylon (BAC! part 1)

One of the most striking and enchanting pieces i saw at BAC!, the contemporary art festival in Barcelona, is Yamila Fontán’s Nocturna. The audiovisual installation uses several artistic disciplines to tell a very intimate story in a very intimate way. Nini is a cabaret performer and Ema is selling the tickets at the entrance. They are friends and lovers.


One night Ema wakes up and Nini is gone. She’ll dreamingly go through the city looking for her friend.

It was the first time i saw a work based on stereoscopic images that was in no way cheesy and is actually very sexy and elegant. It reminded me of the view master toy.

0ainsidecabin.jpgOuside and inside the Nocturna cabin

You enter a booth, the size of the ones you’d find in train stations to make passport photos. Or is it the kind of booth they have in peep shows? Nothing tells you what might happen in there, only your own curiosity will have you take the following actions:

You enter, sit down, the curtains are red, the armchair is red and comfortable. Adjust your seat, lean on and place your eyes in front of the binocular-like apparatus. The story unveils in 3D images which change when you press a button, just like the View Master. There’s also a sound track which changes and brings a new atmosphere each time the protagonist visits a new location. You can’t choose your role, you have them all: you’re a voyeur, a curious child, the reader of a fotonovela and an art lover.


Each stereoscopic image is made of 2 photographies which were taken with a 35mm camera featuring a double objective lens. What the spectator sees is in fact two diapositives displayed at the same moment.


The 34 images of the story are mounted on a cylinder and at its center is the screening light. The cylinder moves the photos and is activated by a motor which in turn is controlled by a PIC microchip which adjusts the sound track and the intensity of the light as well.

I really felt sucked into another world, the images were exquisite, the women made me question my heterosexuality, the soundtrack mysterious, the story… Well, you get it, right? I loved that work.

All images courtesy of Yamila Fontán.