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A Screen Test for an Adaptation of Giselle

A Screen Test for an Adaptation of Giselle by Cécile B. Evans is a screen test for a feature length adaptation of the 19th Century Industrial-era ballet Giselle as an eco-feminist thriller. 

The infamous original tells the story of a fragile woman betrayed to death who rises in an afterlife propagated by a group of so-called scorned women. This adaptation is reimagined in a near-future where Giselle and her friends have moved on from a failed metropolis to her mother’s rural village to “reset society".  An invasion of their successful community by an unnamed presence sets off a contamination of their newly formed ecosystem with old power dynamics. Here, Giselle’s death emerges as an investigation into mutability and multiplicity as a strategy for escape, with the natural force of bacteria as an unexpected ally. With visuals that sew together high and low resolution digital footage, 16mm, and VHS recordings with animation, deep AI, and image upscaling techniques, the screen test serves as a sketch for a hybridised world where multiple realities simultaneously push to the surface. At the centre is the tension between the violence of essentialism and the fierce recalcitrance of solidarity, emotions, identity, data, and nature alike. 

This project was supported by La Maison Balmain Paris, Galerie Emanuel Layr and Forma.


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A Screen Test for an Adaptation of Giselle

Cécile B. Evans

A Screen Test for an Adaptation of Giselle by Cécile B. Evans is a screen test for a feature length adaptation of the 19th Century Industrial-era ballet Giselle as an eco-feminist thriller. 

The infamous original tells the story of a fragile woman betrayed to death who rises in an afterlife propagated by a group of so-called scorned women. This adaptation is reimagined in a near-future where Giselle and her friends have moved on from a failed metropolis to her mother’s rural village to “reset society".  An invasion of their successful community by an unnamed presence sets off a contamination of their newly formed ecosystem with old power dynamics. Here, Giselle’s death emerges as an investigation into mutability and multiplicity as a strategy for escape, with the natural force of bacteria as an unexpected ally. With visuals that sew together high and low resolution digital footage, 16mm, and VHS recordings with animation, deep AI, and image upscaling techniques, the screen test serves as a sketch for a hybridised world where multiple realities simultaneously push to the surface. At the centre is the tension between the violence of essentialism and the fierce recalcitrance of solidarity, emotions, identity, data, and nature alike. 

This project was supported by La Maison Balmain Paris, Galerie Emanuel Layr and Forma.

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About the artist

Cécile B. Evans, born 1983, is an Belgian-American artist who lives and works in London. 

Evans is known for her use of video, installation, sculpture and performance. Her work is known for examining the value of emotions and their rebellion within different constructs and systems, and has been shown with museums and institutions like Tate Liverpool, Tramway Glasgow, Serpentine Gallery, and Whitechapel Gallery.