Aqua Alta

Adrien M & Claire B

In 2011, Claire Bardainne and Adrien Mondot joined forces to form the company Adrien M & Claire B, based in Lyons. All work is created with their four hands and the company is directed as a pair. Transcending the spatial boundaries of stage and the time limits of performance is pivotal to their research. They strive to create living digital art: mobile, handcrafted, ephemeral, and responsive.

Together, they sign in 2011 the creation of XYZT, Abstract Landscapes, an interactive exhibit. That same year, they write a conference-performance entitled Un point c’est tout and sign the digital scenography of Grand Fracas issus de rien, directed by Pierre Guillois. In 2013, they create Hakanaï, a show for one dancer in a cube of moving images. In 2014, they co-sign the performance of Pixel with Mourad Merzouki (CCN Créteil and Val-de-Marne/Cie Käfig). In 2015, they create The movement of air, and receive the SACD Digital Creation award of the year. In 2016, Éditions Subjectiles publishes Snow does not make sense, the first monograph dedicated to Adrien M & Claire B’s works, that includes six drawings in augmented reality. In 2017, a new series of installations inhabited by digital animism sees the day, it is entitled Mirages & miracles. In 2018, they are commissioned by la Fondation d’entreprise Martell to create The shadow of the vapor, a site-specific installation.

Together, they question the movement and the living in resonance with graphic and digital arts. The result is a poetic visual language blending imaginary, real and virtual dimensions while bearing unlimited opportunities for artistic exploration.

Claire Bardainne is a visual artist with a background in graphic design and scenography. A graduate of Estienne and Arts Déco schools in Paris, her approach focuses on the imaginary realms conveyed by pictures and graphics, especially in their space-constructive capacity. She co-founded the BW Studio in 2004, and collaborated with the research community in sociology of the imaginary and media (McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology at the University of Toronto and Ceaq – Sorbonne, Paris).

Adrien Mondot is a multidisciplinary artist, computer scientist and juggler. Since he was discovered at Jeunes Talents Cirque in 2004 with his show Convergence 1.0, he creates stage performances based on responsive interactions between digital art forms, juggling, dance and music. In June 2009, he received the Grand Jury Prize for Cinématique, at the Dance and New Technology international competition of the Bains Numériques Festival (Enghien-les-Bains, France).

Today, the company counts approximately 30 associates, 3 performances and 2 exhibitions touring internationally. Its Lyon headquarters also house a research and creation studio.


Acqua Alta
Concept and artistic direction by Claire Bardainne et Adrien Mondot
Computer design by Adrien Mondot

Sound design by Olivier Mellano
Choreography and performance by Dimitri Hatton and Satchie Noro
Computer development by Rémi Engel

In line with the Adrien M & Claire B’s love for the movement of elements and in the wake of past projects exploring the imaginery of air and of vapor, Acqua Alta is a voyage into water.

Acqua alta refers to a phenomenon in Venice when the waters of the Laguna submerge the city during exceptionally high tides. These two words, literally translated as high water, take us on a journey through rain and wave, against currents. They submerge us in an ever-changing, living water, a flood that speaks. Tiny dancing dots — in virtual and augmented reality as well as projected — reveal the infinite variations in the world of water. The water that drowns along with the water that brings life. And, beyond realism, these images conjure up living spaces, changing landscapes imbued with presence, singular spirits, mischievous and polymorphous phantoms.

Acqua Alta is a story. That of a woman, a man, a house. A daily routine, absurd and filled with discrepancies. But one wet rainy day, their life is turned upside down: the rising waters drown their home in an ink-coloured sea. The woman slips and disappears. Only her hair remains, and it is alive. It tells the tale of a disaster, unique and universal. It tells of losing and searching. It tells of the fear of the bizarre and otherness, and how to tame it.

The company presents three variations on the same story at each engagement, encompassing three different formats:

Acqua Alta – Ink black
a visual theatre performance that blends movement and living digital images

Acqua Alta – Crossing the mirror:
a book whose drawings and paper volumes become the décor of the story, only visible in augmented reality

Acqua Alta – Tête-à-tête:
an immersive experience in a virtual reality headset to live one scene of the performance in immediate proximity.

A simple graphic stroke and the simple use of black and white ties the three experiences together. But the story, as if told by multiple voices, unfolds playfully in these facets that complete and shed light on one another to create a sensitive experience. The hand-drawn lines traced across the pages of the book thrum and intertwine like long strands of hair. The folded papers are made strong by their geometry but fragile by their substance, sensitive to water and wrinkles. The tiny beings sheltered within this paper world are reminiscent of the performers on stage. But, whereas the first have no substance, the latter are striking for their flesh and sweat. Man and woman as an irreducible sample of humanity. Satchie Noro and Dimitri Hatton, the creators and performers of the choreography, embody the meeting of finesse and chance, fragility and balance. The nonhuman world that surrounds them highlights the essence of their human condition and contours.

The original music, composed by Olivier Mellano, transports spectators to a dreamy and suggestive realm in which water sings. And, although hidden in the sound booth, the live manipulation of images during the show, which we call “digital interpretation”, is a performance akin to juggling or puppeteering. With this project, we continue our research around the recording of dance and body movement (using motion capture equipment). It allows for unusual forms of play and new ways of perceiving movement, as can be experienced in the virtual reality headset. With these living images, computer generated and animated, Acqua Alta also furthers our research into digital animism, our desire to digitally create from scratch an imaginary bestiary which sparks a fabulous and improbable feeling, and in which humans and nonhumans exist on equal-footing. Finally, we strive, at our own modest level, to participate in the creation of an imaginery of the future in which a life can reinvent itself after a catastrophe.

Venue: Proscenium
Capacity: 500-2000+
Traveling Personnel: 10
Running time: 180 minutes

Worldwide touring 2019-21: OPEN



October 11 – 13, 2019: Theater AmStramGram, Geneva, Switzerland
October 15 – 21, 2019: Maison de la Danse, Lyon, France
October 26 – 29, 2019: Teatro Cavallerizza, Reggio Emilia, Italy
November 7 – 8, 2019: Théâtre-Sénart, Lieusaint, France
November 21 – 22, 2019: Théâtre d’Arles, Arles, France
November 29, 2019: L’Archipel, Fouesnant, France
December 2, 2019: Quai des Arts, Pornichet, France
December 5, 2019: L’ESTRAN, Guidel, France

January 23 – 25, 2020: Théâtre Louis Aragon, Tremblay, France
January 31, 2020: Theater La Baleine, Onet-le-Chateau, France
February 4 – 5, 2020: Théâtre Ducourneau, Agen, France
February 11 – 12, 2020: La Filature, Mulhouse, France
February 14 – 15, 2020: Theater Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany
February 17 – 23, 2020: Le Parvis, Tarbes, France
March 6 – 7, 2020: Cirque Theater-Elbeuf, Elbeuf, France
March 20, 2020: Théâtre de Roanne, Roanne, France
March 25 – 28, 2020: Théâtre National de Chaillot, Paris, France
April 2 – 3, 2020: Bonlieu, Annecy, France
April 9 – 10, 2020: Théâtre des Salins, Martigues, France
April 24, 2020: Le Centre des Arts, Enghien les Bains, France
April 26, 2020: Théâtre des Bergeries, Noisy-le-sec, France
April 30, 2020: Pole Culturel – !POC!, Alfortville, France