Photo: Kirsten Dehlholm, Operation Orfeo

Intersection Talks: Expanding Scenography

Throughout the past year, it has been my aim to actively involve performance and visual artists, PQ national curators, and the wider public in a conceptual think-tank in preparation for PQ 2011, the first Prague Quadrennial under its new and programmatic name: Prague Quadrennial for Performance Design and Space. Focussed on questions of artistic authorship, curatorial practices, and the unstable and changing nature of spectatorship in scenographies predominantly located in the public and art domain, one of the outcomes of the 2010 symposia is the publication, Expanding Scenography. On the Authoring of Space, based on artists’ presentations and papers given in Riga, Belgrade, and Evora, and launched at the PQ 2011.

Phrased in its most removed and depersonalized grammatical form, this book’s subtitle posits that space IS indeed authored. However, scenography, discussed here as a trans-disciplinary practice of the design of performative spaces can no longer be assigned to a singular genre – set design comes to mind - and a singular author. It is rather its fluid articulation of staging spaces between the disciplines of theatre, exhibition, installation, media, and architecture that renders it particularly suitable to formulate speculative spaces of potentiality. The original visual essays and theoretical positions of this volume posit and survey recent scenographic practice as an expanded field of presence. They are fuelled by a commitment to performance as providing a unique and stubbornly critical voice from within our society.

In addition to these rich and valuable discussions by artists and scholars alike, four curated panels, held within the framework of Intersection aim to focus on technological, social, and political aspects of the contemporary staging of space and thus of the construction of the performative in all areas of spatial design.

Thea Brejzek, PQ11 Curator for Theory  

Kirsten Dehlholm, Hotel Pro Forma

Innovative and highly creative in its use of technology and new media, the Danish ensemble Hotel Pro Forma under the artistic leadership of Kirsten Dehlholm, has been at the forefront of independent music theatre practice for more than two decades now. Kirsten Dehlholm (DK), Artistic Director of Hotel Pro Forma, creates interdisciplinary work which moves across the genres of theatre, opera, visual arts, and concerts.

Between Trust and Risk – Participatory Spaces

For spectator and actor, for ‘viewer’ and ‘doer’, the participation in a performative act requires trust and poses risks. This panel introduces artists’ projects between the genres of installation and theatre, and looks at participation as a foremost scenographic gesture of inclusion and exclusion.

Ulla von Brandenburg (DE) works with different media such as drawing, video, film, space installation, and performance. Her work has been shown at the Venice Biennale, the Tate Britain, as well as biennales in Jerusalem, Prague, Bucharest, and Sydney.

Romeo Castellucci (IT) is the co-founder of Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio, an author, and director. He attends to scenes, costumes, and lights according to an unitary principle of dramatic composition that also affects the graphics of their books and programmes.

How to do Things with Space – In Words?

Playing on Austin’s famous phrase, how “to do things with words”, this panel considers how recent practices in site-specific and choreographed works contribute to an understanding of space as a dynamic network of physical attributes and immaterial atmosphere, thus proposing an alternate reality.    

Rolf Abderhalden (CH) is a multi-disciplinary artist. Has created and directed an Interdisciplinary M.A. in Theatre and Live Art at the National University of Colombia and has founded and co-directed the Bogota-based MAPA TEATRO.

Franco La Cecla (IT) is an anthropologist and architect. He has taught anthropology in many European cities and has worked as a consultant for the Renzo Piano Building Workshop and Barcelona Regional. In his works, he focuses on the theme of organizing contemporary space between local and globalized areas.

Juan Carlos Garcia
(SP) is the artistic  director and choreographer of the dance company Lanònima Imperial.  He has also worked for other companies such as Ballet de Zaragoza, the Berlin Komische Oper, the Maggio danza Fiorentino,  Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Dresdner Musikfestspiele, and the Gulbenkian Ballet.

The Construction of Society in the Spectacle

A dwindling middle class, the rise of precarious working conditions, a “society of extras” (N.Bourriaud) – how do artists and dramaturgs define, portray, and stage models of contemporary existence? 

Claudia Bosse  (D/A) is the Artistic Director of theatercombinat. She creates spatial choreographies, hybrid theatre works in open-plan spaces, choral choreographies, theatre projects involving various segments of the public, urban interventions, and discourses on theories of practice.

Guy Coolen (BE) is the General and Artistic Director of Music Theatre Transparant, a production company for innovative opera and music theatre projects, and founder of the Institute for Living Voice.

David Tushingham (UK) is a writer, dramaturg, and curator. He has programmed and commissioned new works for numerous international festivals including the interdisciplinary performing arts programme of Linz09 European Capital of Culture. He is the author of books, translations, and other writings. 

Current PhD research in Scenography

This 3 hour session takes a look at current postgraduate research in scenography on a PhD level through presentations of completed and in-progress-research. As we observe the expansion of scenographic practice finto all areas of spatial design, we can equally see an expansion of theoretical debates in the field. The presentations by PhD researchers will concentrate on such work that is informed by the candidates` individual practice but aims to integrate this into both historical and contemporary analyses of both established and emerging phenomena of performativity and spatiality.  

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