A Promenade Performance
MA Digital and Theatre Designers
Wimbledon College of Art Theatre, London
Wimbledon College of Art Theatre has provided a performance designed by 14 theatre designers and 9 digital theatre designers.
This collaboration has offered us a wide-ranging platform for sharing ideas, developing well-established skills and new horizons, being supported by technical experts of the theatre.
After many debates regarding a general significant intent to put on a show, the group achieved the theme Dot and Line, lately changed in Dot, Line = A ______, in order to underpin the meaning that a dot and a line together have in Morse code.
Starting from this assumption each subgroup explored a variety of thematic with the common ingredient of the presence of lines (made by dots and links between dots) that either physically or intangibly generate nets in our lives.
The choice of a promenade piece was born from the idea to create a dynamic space made by single installations under a general layout.
Here the five groups composed by both digital theatre designers and theatre designers: Cosmos, Identity, Journey, Memory and Nature.
To clarify the connection between groups and general theme: our memory is an ensemble of facts and images that produce an impact on human life, defining their identity as a component of the cosmos, which needs to communicate with the natural world.
The performance can be seen as a journey throughout these aspects of human existence.
A film by Studio Olafur Eliasson Conceived for Station to Station, 6 - 28 September 2013 Filmed in S25 urban railway, Berlin
In order to set a powerful experience and to interact with the audience, the group decided to incorporate live content in each piece.
Three theatre designers and two digital theatre designers composed the Nature group. Everyone gave contribute to the whole piece starting from a reflection about the effects on the natural environment produced by human manipulation.
The first inspiration and thought regard the signs that human and nature leave upon each other, in order to reveal by a journey the transfer from a natural and wild environment to a urban and rational one.
Moreover, when human understood the perfect structure the natural world is based on, their effort to reproduce it results in a biplane representation throughout mathematical models.
Benjamin Bett's mathematical models of the evolution of human consciousness through geometric forms
Using the under balcony space of the theatre the ambience should have been articulated as a tunnel, showing the growth of the human colonization of the natural environment.
Spatial configuration evolution
The link between the natural world, imagined as a green wall of leaves sewed up by thread, and the urban one, conceived as a museum room with pedestals and displays, consisted in an OHP series of projections reached by combining natural and artificial ingredients.
Our main intent was to trigger a process of association from the aesthetic of the chemical reactions to natural and architectural environments, surrounded by an ambiguous sound effect.
Sequences from the OHP Projector
Technical problems and issues have marked the transition between ideas and construction. That has brought us to re-locate the original space into a new configuration.
From the tunnel we moved to a sequence of rooms not automatically reciprocally connected by the audience. This change limited the entire fruition of these rooms.
Indeed, while the tunnel established a univocal and linear passage from one ambient to another, the rooms’ system took for granted the hierarchical development of our narrative aim.
On the other hand, the length of the tunnel wouldn’t have given us the chance to project on its surfaces except for the corner.
Final spatial configuration
Another unresolved issue, emerged after the show, was our role as performers: our interaction with the OHP projector and the use of torches inside the “leaves room” to create shadows on its ceiling were not clearly understandable.
"Leaves room" building process
Overall, the whole promenade piece has been judged in its entirety as a well synthesis between digital and structural aspects, as its impact on the audience generated a variety of interfaces between bodies and space.