A Season in Hell

A Season in Hell

A Season in Hell is a multimedia performance created by Randall Packer. The title was borrowed from a famous poem of the same name written by Arthur Rimbaud. In this live performance, Randall Packer incorporated many different medias including video projection, surround sound, electronic music score. Randall Packer also had a live vocal performance in the middle of the stage.

The primary focus of A Season in Hell is to express the political and social turmoil in the 9/11 era. Before Randall packer and his partners created this performance, they spent a lot of time experiencing the underclass lives in America during 9/11 era and finally finished this performance to reflect the social situations during that hard time. 

Michele Guieu states about A Season in Hell in MICHELE GUIEU:

    The performance itself is an extremely dense journey, packed with montages of hundreds         of CNN documents, photos and videos’ excerpts, political statements, dialogues on stage,         haunting chants performed by tenor Charles Lane, breathtaking videos taken in Death         Valley.A journey through a post 9/11 America, which, like Rimbaud’s journey through Hell, is full of disillusions, anger, sufferings and questions. And some hope in the end.
    Like in Rimbaud’s “A Season in Hell”, there are some mysterious allegories and I may         not have understand everything Packer is referring to in the performance and it does not         matter. In its explosive richness, its changing pace and amazing light, is a very powerful         poetic journey. The trailer of the performance gives an idea of what the performance is         about, although I believe it is very difficult to document a performance like this one. I         hope the performance will be shown elsewhere in the country and will initiate interesting         debates, like the one which took place after the show.

(Guieu,Michele. September 26, 2010. http://www.micheleguieu.com/wordpress/inspiration/?p=1838)

Another media installation created by Randall Packer is called Media Deconstruction kit, in this project, Randall Packer created a remix of news reports on November 4, 2004, when George W. Bush was re-elected. In this project, video was remixed too obscure to clearly see and also the audio was rendered with a lot of noise. Compared with the scenes in A Season in Hell, that Randall Packer stood on the American flag and had a powerful vocal performance, this is not considered as a positive reflection of the re-election of George W. Bush as the president of U.S.

In one of Steve Lambert’s art installations called Capitalism Works for me!(True/False), Steve Lambert created a large score board with true and false options. Audiences could vote for true or false and the result would immediately show on the score board. With a comparison of the result, audiences might know if people around them were actually satisfied with their life situations. Steve Lambert’s piece also refers to political art projects, comparing to Randall Packer’s A Season in Hell, they both provided opportunities for audience to get to know about life situations and satisfaction of citizens around them. 











Theater venue:

San Jose Stage


Commissioned by:

01SJ Biennial/ZER01

Liminal Surface

Liminal Surface