ANNE KARIN TEN BOSCH
Society has become a scripted space, in the past decades theatricalization has taken hold, and we as citizens, play our own parts in digital and analogue realities. Meanwhile, in the Dutch debate about the many subjects connected to public space, few scenographers make their voice heard. Isn’t this theatricalized condition of public space a wonderful playground for scenographers? Not to add the next reality, nor to use it as a background for another site-specific play, nor to create another adventure park, but to finally start talking with their designer colleagues of public space, with architects and visual artists working in this common field. Can scenographers add a fresh perspective to the existing discourse or bring new tools? Can scenographers learn from this exchange? And most of all and despite the very specific qualities of each domain, can we discover a shared language about what I like to call scenographic working and thinking?
These questions and assumptions, together with the fact that not so many people outside theatre are aware of theatre and the fake split-up a long time ago, made me decide to ask Ester van de Wiel, a designer of public space, Sigrid Merx, a theatre scholar, Iris Schutten, an architect and expert in social design and scenographer Sanne Danz, to develop a plan for the 13th edition of the Prague Quadrennial. They came up with the project Between Realities, a research of public space from the perspective of scenography. A challenging, inspiring and provoking plan, that after almost a year of preparation, brought together a diverse selection of artists, designers, architects and reporters. These artists were daring enough to participate in this research, bringing their materials, tools and strategies, without expecting definite results. The reporters were willing to experiment with different ways of reporting the effects of an intervention on audiences and the results of cartographic research. It is amazing and I’m repeatedly touched by the way these people dared to embark on this adventure, not knowing at the time that it would turn into an enormous success and most importantly, an inspiring period, full of new ideas even for the participants themselves.
I can only be grateful, especially during these difficult times, that there is still interest for a project like this one which these curators and artists so generously invested in. They observed, watched carefully, listened and searched for language, they discussed their specificities while building new bridges. You can start here; tracing their routes, criss-cross between pages and wander among images and texts. We can only dream that just as many people that cross the Charles’ Bridge every day, will enjoy and develop these bridges.
Anne Karin ten Bosch
Artistic director of Platform-Scenography, initiator of the Dutch entry for the 13th edition of the Prague Quadrennial