Scenography Expanded, Amsterdam October, 2009


At the two day-symposium Scenography Expanded in Amsterdam, which was hosted by Theaterschool Amsterdam and Peter de Kimpe, national curators and the PQ`s creative team focused on an initial brainstorming event on regarding the curatorial concepts and artistic concerns for PQ 2011.

In her  introductory session, PQ`s Artistic Director, Sodja Lotker, communicated the new concept and aims of the Prague Quadrennial 2011 as well as the new venues, both indoor and outdoor , and encouraged national curators to think carefully about their settings and possible site-specific contexts in which to display works. PQ 2011 will infiltrate the city of Prague in a new and unique way. For 11 days exhibitions, performances, installations, discussions, presentations, spectacles, and light and sound will overlay the geographic map of Prague with an exciting and innovative cultural map – temporary, ephemeral, and infectious.

Boris Kudlicka, General Commissioner of PQ 2011 and renowned Slovakian scenographer, introduced his vision for a Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space that is both accessible and challenging to professionals and interested audiences alike. Kudlicka’s concept for the Lighting Design and Media exhibition promises to be one of the highlights of the Quadrennial.  The exhibition will be supported by lectures, talks, and workshops with eminent professionals, both established and emerging artists in the field. 

Thea Brejzek, Curator for Theory for 2011, elaborated on the concept of an Expanded Scenography as a reflection on current spatial design practices and extended an invitation to national curators and interested parties to participate in the three international Expanded Scenography symposia in Riga, Belgrade, and Evora in 2010, which are being organized in collaboration with partner organizations in these locations.

With Arnold Aronson, General Commissioner of PQ 2007, and several national curators past and future voicing succinct expectations towards Prague 2011 in their presentations, the overall aim and focus of the Amsterdam symposium emerged very clearly: Amsterdam is the beginning of a process of a thinking together about scenography, space and performance design in a contemporary understanding that reflects the trans-disciplinary nature of current practice. Participants at Amsterdam were in full agreement that to exhibit scenography successfully, both concept and design need to move far beyond the presentation of artifacts, physical or digital, towards a mode of representation that acknowledges the staging of space as the origin of scenography.

PQ curators, coordinators, and other professionals connected to the PQ who gave a presentation were: Sue Gallagher (New Zealand), Susan Tsu (USA), Meta Hocevar (Slovenia), Donatella Barbieri (UK), Reija Hirvikovski (Finland), Yukio Horio (Japan), Tali Itzaki (Israel),  Catarina Fortuna (Portugal), Christina Lindgren (Norway), Andrea Kralova (CZ), Peter Farley (UK), Nino Gunia-Kuznetsova (Georgia), Sergio Villegas (Mexico),  and Opélie Bertout (France).

The following questions and ideas  occurred during the presentations:

  • How does an installation space become a production space as well as an archive or work?
  • How does spatial design become a curatorial strategy to bring performance designers together to recollect, explore, and contemplate current scenographic practice?
  • Is a play’s impressive visualization always the proof of a successful performance?
  •  How do we show scenography without story/ time for it not to become an installation and stay theatrical?
  • Is any urban space a stage today?
  • What kind of collaboration has there been between visual artists and the director?
  • How can we show the ways in which scenographers use the transformation of space, structures, and performers to take the spectator on a temporal visual journey?
  •  How do we use other media and disciplines to recreate the scenography in an exhibition environment?
  • How do we fill the lack of discourse for costume design?

The following were set as the main goals for the next edition of the PQ:

  • to put scenography on the map of the contemporary arts, by creating context between performance, visual, and other arts;
  • to look at scenography/ performance design as a discipline on the border of visual arts and performing arts;
  • to present a large variety of disciplines and genres connected to performance and performance design;
  • to create discourses around performance design curatorship;
  • to create live contexts and new contexts for performance design;
  • to attract theatre professionals of different professions and other cultural visitors.

The Prague Quadrennial 2011 will be a staged city as well as a forum for professionals, students, and interested individuals and by integrating a wider range of disciplines.  It also aims to attract a wider range of audiences.

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