Jules and Jim and Catherine
(an Affective Field Theory)
An immersive installation based on Truffaut’s 1962 film Jules et Jim, Jules and Jim and Catherine (an Affective Field Theory), or JJC, brings together quantum mechanics, queer theory and emerging technologies to reimagine the medium of cinema as an interactive environment in which viewers’ movements, heart rates and body temperatures govern alternative poetic and narrative possibilities within Truffaut’s film.
JJC explores queer relationality in Truffaut’s film by using emerging technologies to reimagine cinematic time according to the laws of quantum mechanics. Demonstrating that time is indeterminate and nonlinear, quantum physics holds that matter’s “past identity… is never fixed [but] always open to future reworkings” (Karen Barad). Drawing on this queer account of temporality, JJC explores the volatile relationships among the film’s three protagonists as they negotiate jealousy and desire among themselves and their other lovers. Jules, Jim and Catherine inhabit a world in which a multiplicity of sexual/emotional configurations is always theoretically possible but in which only one configuration can be realized at any given time. The virtual and the real exist in tension with one another, and consequently, the film is perpetually haunted by the “what if” of alternate sexual/emotional possibilities.
JJC brings the film’s alternate possibilities to life by transforming its 150,000 black and white frames into a three-dimensional environment viewers can step into and interact with. The film’s cinematography, soundtrack, and dialog are reimagined not as determinate entities fixed in time but as indeterminate phenomena whose poetic and narrative possibilities can be endlessly recomposed. Using 3D projectors, micro-location beacons, and open-source wristbands equipped with physiological sensors, JJC’s innumerable reconfigurations of the film’s raw materials are governed by viewers’ positions, momentums, heart rates, and body temperatures as they move through the physical space of the installation. JJC is a lyric reading and dynamic retelling of Truffaut’s film that seeks to capture the haunted space-time its characters inhabit, reimagining the medium of cinema as an immersive, interactive, and open-ended system perpetually open to “future reworkings.”