“Have I been here before?”( Deja Vu I.)Thames Version

© Lenka Novakova 2010-2014 Deja Vu I “Have I Been Here Before?”


Interactive video installation invites the viewer/participant to contemplate the nature of his/her own being through the act of self-reflection within the space. The play of shadows, light, reflected, refracted image and the repetition of the infinites  lead to a contemplative state of mind and projection of one own self within the personal and larger concept of time and space. The theatre platforms, “the steps” one may suggests, direct the participants movement up and down in and around, or back again and the infinite repetitions of the platforms, of the participants and their very movement within the projected image leaves us with questions of time and space, of there, now and after.


Theatre risers, number of cameras, projectors, 2 large mirrors. (All arranged site specifically to the particular setting of each new venue/gallery/black box)

Movement through the space multiplies the projected image. The visitors are invited to walk up and down the steps and around the structure in order to observe the movement of their own bodies within the imaginary space of the projected image. Two large mirrors placed in each corner of the gallery reflect the entire situation back to the space each from a different angle.

Cinema – Theatre – Exhibition?

The work carefully observes the tensions between the space of cinema, theatre and exhibition. The experience is both the cinematic and the theatrical. (the work took two years in development and its theoretical findings lead to my master theses  available upon request)


Context: Deja Vu  was developed as an interactive video installation during my residency at La Chambre Blanche, Quebec in 2010. Performances started as an experiment and a public prototype during the one week of showing at La Chambre Blanche in 2010. Call for performers was launched, and several students from the School of Dance Quebec were invited to participate in the public prototype of this performance.


©Lenka Novakova, La Chambre Blanche 2009   http://www.beet.local/clean_site/wordpress/works/deja-vu

The performance  with this work, every since has become the continuous public prototype of the project and remains optional. (it is not required for showing of the work, however it may become part of upon agreement) depending on each particular location and space of the exhibition.

Performance: in Deja Vu is often improvised. It is primarily focused on introduction of the optical space and opening viewers imagination to metamorphic engagement with the light situation in creative process of generating dream like landscapes, waves of water or seductive imagery of face and body within their abstractions and architectural scale. Depending on the location of the exhibition, call for performance is launched and organized in the space . The choreography leads the performer to improvised movements, it takes place in silence, focusing on introducing the optical qualities of the work.  The performance is limited to 10 minutes and usually, takes place within the vernissage of the exhibition. Participating performers included: Karijn de Jong, Katia-Marie Germain, Elizabeth Rose Browman and Undergradute Students at University of Wisconcin and participants at SESC Pinheiros, et l’Atelie NOVO – Integracao Action Sao Paulo : Quebec

“La galerie devient la pièce centrale d’un lieu incertain aux multiples dédales aux contours parfois nets, parfois flous, ombre et lumière qui trompent l’œil et jouent avec l’échelle des images. Cette exploration de l’image et de la lumière créée un environnement vivant où tous les bruits semblent plus sonores, où les ombres sont sublimées. Les images projetées en trinité : la fille, l’image de la fille et l’ombre de la fille, toutes réunies dans un dialogue muet. Entrer dans cette œuvre de Lenka Novakova, c’est comme flotter dans un monde onirique, un monde intangible, construit uniquement de lumière et d’ombres. Comme réaliser enfin le fantasme infantile de pouvoir entrer dans le livre d’histoire et en devenir le protagoniste.”

Comme un rêve de pierre. Exposition de Lenka Novakova à la Chambre Blanche. (article par Claude Chevalot 15 avril 2010)

hamilton karijn

©Lenka Novakova (Performance:Karijn De Jong, Hamilton Artist Inc. 2011)



Technical Information:
4 projectors
2 CCTV high res. cameras
Theatre Platforms
2 Mirrors
Dimensions: Variable depending on the shape of the space, Minimal Space 28' x 28' and larger



Date of Cration: 2010

Concept/Creation: Lenka Novakova

Choreography: Lenka Novakova
Performer 1: Katia-Marie Germain (Thames Art Gallery)
Performer 2 : Karijn de Jong (Hamilton Artist Centre)
Performer 3 : Elizabeth Rose Bowman (University of Wisconsin)
Performance 1: La Chambre Blanche 2010 (Students of Ecole de Dance, Quebec)
Performance 2: University of Wisconsin (Students of UW)
Performance 3: SESC Pinheiros, Sao Paulo, Brasil 2010

Photo / Video Credit: © Lenka Novakova

Selected Exhibitions


Thames Art Gallery – Chatham Kent, Chatham, ON, Canada
“Have I been here before“, Curator Carl Levoy, publication Kasia Basta https://www.chatham-kent.ca

University of Wisconsin, Gallery La Crosse, La Crosse, Wisconsin, USA
‘Have I been here before/Deja Vu?’, ‘How far are we?’ Exhibition, Artist Lecture
and performance in collaboration with UW students, Curated by Binod Shrestha

Hamilton Artist, Inc, Hamilton, ON, Canada
‘Have I been here before’ Exhibition, Performance and Artist talk, Curated by Irene Laughlin
Performance in collaboration with Karijn Dejong, interview: Kristina deMelo

SESC Pinheiros, et l’Atelie NOVO – Integracao Action Sao Paulo : Quebec
Echange artistique entre la ville de Quebec et Sao Paulo
Ce project est le fruit d’un partenariat entre Le Lieu, centre en art
Actuel, Avatar, La bande Video, La Chambre Blanche et L’oeil de poisson

La Chambre Blanche, Quebec, Quebec, Canada
‘Fragments of Light’, ‘ Have I been here before’, Project & Exhibition Residency
Production, Exhibition and Artist Talk, Part of Sao Paulo – Quebec exchange
http://www.chambreblanche.qc.ca/EN/, http://projetointegracao.wordpress.com/echange-2011


Have I been here before - Hamilton Artist Inc.

FINAL PROOF (Lenka Novakova) 01-2

Have I been here before - Hamilton Artist Inc.

Lenka Novakova - Chatham Kent Performance and Exhibition







© Lenka Novakova 2010