The Movement Of Metaphors: Multimedia Operas

This post introduces Paola Tognazzi’s trilogy “Ossessione divorzio” composed of Lost labyrinth of frozen words, Budget motel and Pink motel. The trilogy is inspired on “The mathematical Theory of Communication” by Claude E. Shannon (1949): Communication exists when participants transform each other through the transference of information” and Tim Ingold’s “True understanding is not attained through translation, but metamorphosis” (Tim Ingold, The Perception of the Environmemt).


LOST LABYRINTH of frozen words from paola tognazzi on Vimeo.

Lost labyrinth of frozen words: you are h-ears to prove that what happened, really happened.

The protagonist IS EARS WITHOUT A MOUTH a witness to prove that what happened really happened.
Human’s brain works in amazing ways to protect oneself. It omits and change data till one is ready to not feel anymore the shame and call things by their name. Dancing instead is the fight to liberate oneself and express with the body the words one doesn’t know yet.

When I left Italy to go to study in Amsterdam, I started a journey of consciousness and understanding to find the words to liberate myself. Since 1996 I created a serie of multimedia operas and solos. Honestly, back then I wasn’t aware of what they were about. Images and metaphors,simply come out from my inside and I put them on stage. I had no idea they were about the abuse inflicted on women by the narcisist patriarchal society. When one grows up inside that normality, is not conscious of what it is.
Current society will need a lot of dancing, to recover from all, it has been going on, understand it, and fight to remain humans.

Concept, choreography and multimedia scenography: Paola Tognazzi
Stage dancers: Mari Matre Larsen and Jefta Van Dynther
Video projections actors: Marta Cruañas Belmonte and Alberto Luis Tognazzi

Special thanks to: Mari Matre Larsen, Sher Doruff from DE VAAG and Paul Van Der Ploeg director of the beeldmedia.


An hybrid between an interactive video game and a multimedia dance performance.

Diary pages of a machine rebelling against its code, found in the garbage bin of a budget motel, are transformed into instructions to follow in case of a crash.

It’s about a song, it’s about a diary, it’s about all the stupid things someone write and thinks while staring out the window. They may seem or be, for that matter, cheesy and simple, but when a guitar soundtrack starts playing underneath, they are transformed in the deepest of emotions.

Text from the piece:

This is the story of one year one night stands between Mr. BlondKido Frost and Miss Ann advice to you get yourself some curtains.

How can you tell a doll is dead?
Simple, a doll is dead when I cannot play with it anymore.

Ann wants to be silent
silence is sexy so sexy….
she wants to seduce him again
She wants him to love her again
She should know better,
but She can’t help it, it’s in the nature of the machine,
She has been programmed to.
Can you be brainwashed by a pop song? Be programmed to follow its emotional orders?
Ann did.
Her brainwash was Courtesy of Controversy Music.
“If I was your girlfriend
Would U remember 2 tell me all the things U forgot when I was your man?
If I was your best friend
Would U let me take care of U
If I was your one and only friend,
Would U run 2 me, if somebody hurt U
Even if that somebody was me? …”
It was 1987.  She was 14.
10 years later, the answer was yes.
I would be delighted to play the role of Ann.

The piece reflects upon the subliminal brainwash operated by the narcisistic patriarchal mediums of communication.

The narrative is constructed to display the forms that everyday computer-use offers to record our memories. Projections of short clips, that capture self-voyeuristic moments, video recorded in the hotel are woven together with the performance, titling the scenes, and defining the arrangement of the space. Their communicative value is to contribute to the narrative line by being a 3rd character, expressing the inner voice of the performer, commenting while spying on her.

The challenge of the performance was to explore and analyze “what can only be done live” (what can’t be done in film or in any other medium).
The answer is a choreographic journey, searching in the adrenaline of dance, the energy to stand against the brainwash. The interactive sound installation and video projections materialize the energy of the performer’s fight to liberate herself, in a multi sensory experience to touch and infect the audience, with it.

Concept, choreography and performance: Paola Tognazzi
Interactive sound installation with multi-channel sound diffusion: Ragnar Helgi Olafsson
Video projection: Paola Tognazzi
Realized thanks to the support of STEIM and Hotel Fontana Amsterdam

Special thanks to: Ragnar Helgi Olafsson, Mari Matre Larsen, Matthias Mooij, Jacob Plooij, Marina Perounomen, STEIM.


Prostitutes wearing transparent raincoats to show the whole world that something krak in their heart. One day, maybe a Monday maybe a Tuesday, I wrote you all I had found in my sex and tracks full of silence arrived. I was there. It hurt.

Inspired from a collage of Bernardo Atxaga poetries.

Pink Motel 2002 by Paola Tognazzi from paola tognazzi on Vimeo.

On the stage thin ropes build a spider web installation going from the ceiling to the floor, into which the dancer is attached to with many clothe pins. She is wearing a red Chinese princess dress embroidered with white flowers. She starts telling the story of a house where a dog lived. She was a very sweet dog that become very happy every time she met someone. One day during a stroll in town she saw prostitutes wearing transparent raincoats that show everyone that they were hurt. As the performance evolves the dancer free herself from the spider web, at the rhythm of techno music, revealing her rage and her hurting. She gets out of the princess dress, with which she hided her pain, and starts dancing at the rhythm of a mellow string quartet melody to let the audience in her sadness.

Concept, choreography and performance: Paola Tognazzi
Live camara performer: Coordt Linke
Advisor: Matthias Mooij
Production: Muiderpoort theater 2002

This dance piece encloses all the concepts I later developed in the field of electronics and wearables.The image of transparent clothes that visualize emotions led me to Electronics and their power to make data transparent, visible. With electronis I develop systems that allow people to listen to themselves to know what they feel, when their heart kracks. 18 years later rewatching this video I have to say, that transparency and electronics are wonderful, but it was the princess dress that I was wearing that made me feel strong, dance, and be brave to show the vulnerable me.