The feast of nemesis media: Jean Cocteau's the Eiffel Tower Wedding Party
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Jean Cocteau's The Eiffel Tower Wedding Party is marked by a fascination with the fractious relationship both between technology and theatricality and between human desire and mechanization. In its anti-theatricality, the play shifts away from reproduction with a greater fidelity to "life," or the theatrical representation of life, toward the assumptions that inform the desire for photographic reproduction. Eschewing banal hypotheses like "machines are dehumanizing," Cocteau suggests a more complex desire: we want machines to exert control over the moment of the live event. His use of machines uncannily shows us that we exalt the representation of the event over its emotional content. What Cocteau is asking us to witness, then, in his exploration of our relationship to media, is a creative process inherent in the destruction of theatricality. In Walter Benjamin's terms, one could argue that the play is a significant moment in the ongoing decay and transformation of theatricality's aura.