Scenography: a Battlefield

Sodja Lotker, PQ


´The box was never open,

The thoughts completely separated.

Until the next sign,

It was never easy.´    Ulla von Brandenburg Singspiel


When we started the project Intersection: Intimacy and Spectacle three years ago, our main question was: what is scenography today? We explored this issue within a series of theoretical and artistic symposia, workshops, and projects. We created a professional network that includes theatres, museums, galleries, and independent organizations from all around Europe. We talked to hundreds of artists. Not only scenographers, but visual artists, architects, sociologists, and geographers as well. We built a ´township´ in the center of Prague, consisting of thirty galleries and theatres, we danced the tango, walked through darkness, dressed as bunnies, cried, got lost, watched a performance through a window, slept in an abandoned factory two weeks, stopped traffic in Prague… Sounds complicated. And is.

Scenography is a ´place´ that rejects our habit of separating things in order to define them. Scenography without context (of a performance) does not exist. Scenography itself is a context, an environment. Scenography is the intersection: a place of meeting, a collision, a conflict, a conversation, a touch. The Intersection project is a dialogue between theatre and visual arts, intimacy and spectacle, public and private, open and closed, the visible and invisible, social and personal, actors and audience, action and display, separated and connected…

Now, after three years we know that scenography is the story we tell, the architecture we inhabit and die in, but also the people we live with, as in the work of Ulla von Brandenburg.

Scenography is something two-dimensional, something that restrains us, something we have to overcome, as in the work of Dejan Kaludjerovic. Scenography is a place of battle and place of healing, as in the work of Harun Farocki, in the same time as real, false, and virtual. Scenography is text, words we speak, the sound landscape coming out of us as in the work of Elevator Repair Service. Scenography is an empty space filled with our movement and our stillness as in the work of Ana Borralho and João Galante and Hooman Sharifi. Scenography mirrors our inner space as in the work of Hans Rosenström. But no matter what shape or purpose it takes, it always reflects our being and reflects upon our being. 


´Task: to be where I am.

Even when I´m in this solemn and absurd

role: I am still the place

 where creation works on itself.´    from Tomas Transtromer´s Guard Duty

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