SharedSpace: Music Weather Politics 2013 - 2016
In June 2015, the 13th Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space took place. The thematic title, SharedSpace: Music Weather Politics, was explored by curators and teams of 67 national selections within their expositions, that presented professionals and student work in the field. Some expositions explored the environmental aspect of the theme (New Zealand), weather influencing aesthetics (Finland), theatre as a collective and community creation (Australia and Belgium), the need to address a complete change in the value system (Spain), the balance of people and things (Latvia), the process and dialogue live (Serbia), environments of refugees (Italy), nature and legacy (Romania), sacrificing for art and society (Hungary), natural catastrophe, language, and hearing (Poland), etc. Issues and strategies were many, but most of the expositions created an opportunity for the visitor to, in a subtle way, enter the stage and become part of the performative equation (Spain, Estonia, Mongolia, Slovakia, and Bulgaria for instance).
Besides the national selections, SharedSpace at the PQ included open call projects that challenged the issue of exhibiting theatre while creating shared space for the makers, performers, and audiences: the Object exposition presented theatre props (usually silent without actors) through the prism of their stories (narratives, histories, fictions, anecdotes, memories); Makers that presented the whole process of art – the making, presenting, consuming, and cleaning after – a big kitchen in which plays were cooked; the Tribes project challenged the public space by putting a variety of different kinds of masked groups into the main walking streets in Prague as well as challenged theatre in context of the everyday 'real'.
A series of discussions and talks with major theatre makers (Robert Wilson, Jerzy Gurawski, Andris Frebergs, Julie Taymor, Robert Lepage, etc.) and other presentations and open discussions on scenographic topics (sound dramaturgy, art and activism, costume design, lighting design, scenography and utopia, scenography and national identity, etc.) took place in a hall where the seating constellation changed to propose different ways of communicating in space. And the SpaceLab project created an opportunity for thousands of students to join workshops, performances in the street, indoor performances, and other discussions, concerts, and events - creating a space for 'sharing' among students and for students and professionals.
The Quadrennial occupied over 60 places in Prague and included over 180 000 visits during the 11 days. The center of Prague was overrun by people from 90 countries wearing the red Quadrennial accreditation tags around their necks. The blue chair – the image of the PQ 2015 – was ever present in all corners of the city. But more than anything, the Quadrennial itself was a shared space – an open and inclusive platform where extremely different theatrical disciplines, cultures, strategies, and ways of thinking were presented and explored.
And while the political, social, financial, and emigrational crisis' are getting worse around us, the SharedSpace: Music Weather Politics showed that theatre makers are, want, and need to be part of the solution; that social performative environments matter and that often the most important point is how we create our scenographies – if they are made to include a possibility of dialogue, conflict, and difference – as good scenographies always do.
SharedSpace continues until spring 2016 in a series of exhibitions and symposia in Riga, Utrecht, Veles, Warsaw, Katowice, and Helsinki as well as the SharedSpace publication to come out before the end of the project. The closing project will be Symposium Transformations of the Prague Quadrennial in Prague March 16-18, 2015, which aims to map the major developments in the event as well as explore possibilities of the future for it. Join the SharedSpace!
SharedSpace is organized by Prague Quadrennial (CZ) in cooperation with:Finnish National Gallery, Museum of Contemporary Art, Kiasma Theatre; New Theatre Institute of Latvia; Santarcangelo dei Teatri; Victoria and Albert Museum; HKU Theatre University of the Arts, Utrecht ; Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague; The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama; Centre for Creative Actions IMPACT Macedonia; Center for Polish Scenography, Silesian Museum; Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute; Norwegian Theatre Academy/Østfold University College; The Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia; School of Visual Theatre Jerusalem.
photo: Nadja Schmid