Artistic Concept of PQ2015
— Sodja Lotker, Artistic Director

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 the fast changing world makes scenography’s social function very important: here politicians use imagination and fiction while paradoxically artists are often obsessed with the authentic. 

So, what is to be done?

Prague Quadrennial 2015 invites participating curators and artist to explore not only ‘what we do’ and ‘how we do scenography’ but also and more importantly ‘why we do the things we do’, to explore the impact, the power of scenography, and take responsibility for providing performative experience to communities of people. 

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; the place ‘of the designer in national and international contexts’; and often the place of an individual in a community in the contemporary world. 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; relations of temperature to temperament; ‘the making of the weather’; and places like the bottom of the sea; and a forest; and a ‘theatre beneath the sand’... 

The explorations will extend into public spaces as well. Many expositions will take place in streets and squares, and 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. 

Prague Quadrennial 2015 aims to show that all branches of scenography are quickly regenerating and changing: scenography for stage AND scenography for streets AND scenography for bodies… 

This AND is the only key that can help one orient themselves in the multitude of Prague Quadrennial exhibition, projects and programs. If one expects to find simple results here, they will be quickly lost. Here one has to define by inclusion rather than exclusion, an obviously harder approach, but so characteristic of theatre that is a place of multitude. 

Prague Quadrennial is about to show that scenography has never had so many faces. These many faces point to the fact that scenography is a MEANS to an end, and not an END in itself. Scenography is a way of thinking.

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’ the changes to it is critical.

Welcome to Prague Quadrennial 2015 SharedSpace: Music Weather Politics

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