Welcome to Prague Quadrennial 2015!
SharedSpace: Music Weather Politics
Prague Quadrennial 2015 explores scenography as a strong and sometimes invisible force of performance; a power that influences us just like music, weather and politics influence us. Theatre is a place where people gather and where important socio-political relations are created. The SharedSpace title points to scenography´s social function, providing a space for sharing, relating, and also for being in conflict – a place of connection and of difference.
The difficulty of orienting one's self in this contemporary world makes scenography's social function very important: here politicians use imagination and fiction (and artists are obsessed with the authentic); here systems and recognitions are disrupted; nowadays often one is not allowed to wear a mask at demonstrations. The questions ‘what should be done?’ and ‘how should one position oneself?’ ring throughout PQ 2015: individual expositions explore the position of the designers in their process (like Lithuania); the place ‘of the designer in national and international contexts’ (Mexico); and often the place of an individual in a community in the contemporary world (like Uruguay, Australia).
The scenographic installations of the expositions themselves at PQ 2015 are relational spaces - spaces of experience where audience presence is an important part of the setting. The expositions are performative environments full of: wind, sky, water, clouds, rivers, fog (China); relations of temperature to temperament (Israel); ‘the making of the weather’ (New Zealand); and places like the bottom of the sea (Italy); a forest (Poland); and a ‘theatre beneath the sand’ (Spain)... The explorations will extend into public spaces as well. Many expositions will take place in streets, squares, parks, and on the river. Many tours, talks, and workshops about theatricality of the city will circulate through Prague, as will dozens of masked Tribes created by students and professionals - creating possibilities for the friction of remembered, imagined, and invisible with the ‘real,’ with the everyday, with the local, and with new audiences.
In my description of the concept for PQ 2011, I quoted director Simon McBurney who said that ‘theatre happens in audience's heads.’ Now I would like to add to this statement that this imagination is grounded in very, very real things (architecture, scenography, props, costumes, actors, audiences, cities). Prague Quadrennial 2015 works very strongly with this sense of theatre - the projects themselves are ultimate ‘third spaces’ where the real and imagined come together in very close connection.
If we are redefining scenography as both ‘reading and writing’ of space, as defined by the curators of the Netherlands exhibition, then we understand scenography to be a constant choreography of the imagined and the real where our capacity to ‘read’ reality and ‘write’ our changes to it is critical.