Atom Egoyan: Senses of Cinema
A special commission for the Toronto International Film Festival’s new Bell Lightbox building, Atom Egoyan’s 8½ Screens transformed a pivotal moment from Federico Fellini’s 8½ into an immersive installation. Situated in one of the Lightbox’s cinemas as part of TIFF’s “Essential Cinema” exhibition, the work literalized Fellini’s iconic scene in which Marcello Mastroianni’s Guido views screen tests for his pseudo-autobiographical film-in-progress—as well as the reactions of some of the real-life people they represent, like his long-suffering wife Luisa.
Viewers entering 8½ Screens first encountered a large, clattering projector positioned in front of the cinema’s screen and facing the audience. This projected portions of Fellini’s scene onto eight-and-a-half variously sized sheets strung above and laid on top of the theatre’s chairs. Poignant and clever, Egoyan’s installation highlighted the moment when Fellini’s career (and, arguably, world cinema itself) became categorically self-conscious: when the director made the jump from neo-realism to surrealist, meta-narrative fancy.
Canadian Art assistant editor David Balzer sat down to chat with Egoyan about his ongoing work in projection-based art. Complementing this is an exclusive video, directed by Egoyan, documenting 8½ Screens.
In Conversation: Atom Egoyan on 8½ Screens by David Balzer
Video edited by Andrew Gunadie, senior coordinator of multimedia content for TIFF.