In this experimental arrangement, the terms "Imagination, Transformation, and Memory" are supplemented by three further concepts: "language" that describes spaces and reality, "image" that depicts and represents social and cultural practices, and "space" with its own temporality where actions take place.
The question "What is an image?" is a central topos in Western art and cultural history. At first glance, this question – the starting point for the work at hand – seems simple. In view of today's reality with its excessive medial and relational flood of images, however, it has a persisting topicality. The specific nature of images is key to understanding their artistic and social function, their origins and conditions in historical contexts and, above all, their effects. For this project, Theatre Education and Stage Design students from the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) are collaborating to create an installation that translates image into space and hence generates references beyond the scope of the image itself.
The choice of "The Art of Painting" (1665) by the painter Johannes Vermeer deliberately points at a socio-cultural frame of reference that stands at the beginning of a socio-political development towards globalisation and the dissolution of boundaries. The students’ project aims to examine critically this legacy within the context of an international exhibition. What the Stage Design students translate into space is subsequently transformed through the audio guides developed by the students of Theatre Education, leading to an atmospherically and narratively condensed place of individual experience, in which the visitors are involved in the form of role play. Stories and role models are created from the actual image content and extended by fictional plot strands and networks of reference that enable unexpected ways of interpretation. Various audio tracks guide the visitors through the room and to the objects and traces to be found there and thereby along different courses of history. For spaces are not only mediators and carriers of messages, but also exert influence and are transformative themselves.
Curator BA Theatre Stage Design and Theatre Education, Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK)