CfP: Performance Climates Expanded Scenography Panel

Call for papers, presentations and provocations

PSi ‘Performance Climates’ Expanded Scenography Panel

Conveners: Ian Garrett and Tanja Beer

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Provocation:

In recent years, scenographic practice and performance design have increasingly moved beyond the theatre towards greater forms of hybridity. Traditional theatre spaces and contexts are being rapidly replaced in favour of participatory experiences, transdisciplinary practices, urban interventions and community platforms that also engage with social and environmental issues. Possibilities are expanding to use scenographic strategies (i.e. spatial, narrative, dramaturgical, performative and multi-sensory) as a way of engaging with the world beyond the theatre. In responding to the ‘Performance Climates’ conference theme, this panel seeks to consider our embodied and spatial relationship to global issues and provoke new forms of permeability and transdisciplinarity. We ask: Can scenographic methodologies and practices play a role in revealing ecological complexity – provoking emotional connections that elucidate the concept of environmental and social cohesion and resilience? The aim of the panel is to present an international group of hybrid researcher/creators exploring the boundaries of projects that problematize scenography and performance, and its relationship to greater ecologies and environments.

We welcome papers that intersect with the expanded realm of scenography and the Psi ‘Performance Climates’ theme (http://www.psi2016.com) including: performance, architecture, visual art, choreography, dramaturgy, new technologies, multimedia and community practice. We will be working towards an edited publication on this subject. Depending on interest, our aim is to set up a small symposium-like session on this topic.

If you would like to join us, please get in touch or submit a short abstract and bio to Ian Garret igarrett@yorku.ca and Tanja Beer tanjabeer_design@yahoo.com.au by Sunday the 13th of December.

Participants Confirmed:

Ian Garrett, York University (Toronto, ON, Canada)

Tanja Beer, University of Melbourne (Australia)

Gwenyth Dobie, York University (Toronto, ON, Canada)

Sydney Skybetter, Skybetter & Associates, Harvard, Boston Conservatory (Providence, RI)

 

Photo credit: Nick Roux (The Peoples Weather Report, Arts House 2014)

Ecoscenography: The Paradigm and Practice of Ecological Design in the Performing Arts

IMG_0682As the deadline of handing in my PhD draws closer, I’m excited about uncovering the potential of Ecoscenography. Here, I share a short summary of my research and the possibilities of contributive practice in the performing arts. 

Contemporary ecological concerns bring with them an opportunity for innovation; to rethink traditional practices and forge new approaches that not only strive for sustainability but also push intellectual and creative boundaries. My PhD research investigates the emerging paradigm of ecoscenography – a movement that seeks to integrate ecological principles into all stages of scenographic thinking and production in the performing arts. The thesis explores the potential of ecoscenography through a series of creative works projects that incorporate ideas of ecological thinking, community engagement and contributive practice.

A major focus is the notion of ‘positive legacies’. Moving beyond recycling and efficiency, my research seeks to investigate a more hopeful paradigm, one where scenographic practices are capable of generating positive and far reaching rewards. In my thesis, I ask: 1) how might designers engage with communities to play a central role in social and environmental advocacy and celebration?; 2) how can stories of place be communicated through scenography?, and; 3) can we create designs that not only enrich our audiences, but our communities and environments as well?’.

IMG_9096 - CopySince starting my candidature, a selection of my creative works have developed under the banner of The Living Stage – a global project that combines stage design, permaculture and community engagement to create recyclable, biodegradable and edible performance spaces. Part theatre, part garden and part food growing demonstration, The Living Stage considers ecological principles and environmental impact as opportunities rather than constraints: ethics that can illuminate, and be integral to aesthetics. At the end of the performances, my living stages are returned to the communities that helped grow them. Physical structures become garden beds and community spaces; plants become healthy food; and waste becomes compost. As each living stage evolves out of a direct response to the localities of site, ecology and community, no project is ever the same.

TheLivingStage_climbing_the_edible_stageSince making its debut at the 2013 Castlemaine State Festival, The Living Stage concept has travelled to Cardiff and Glasgow (UK) and continues to generate interest and inspire other projects around the world. New creative teams have emerged, taking local ecological ideas to engage communities and create positive legacies. Each project is unique, but share clear commonalities: the celebration of multisensory elements, effective and multi-level engagement with audiences, and a legacy that exceeds the celebration of the project through performance. Through projects like The Living Stage, the investigation of ecoscenography has provided me with the opportunity to embark on a new course – to reimagine and cultivate stronger relationships with communities and ecosystems, and to invest directly in their future.

For more information about The Living Stage projects see link below:http://www.tanjabeer.com/the-living-stage/