Out of Space: The rise of vagrancy in scenography

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Performance Research, 2013, 18 (3), pp. 109 - 118
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When performance vacated the interior of the theatre to work with site - factory, shop, square, street, landscape - it not only shifted the practice of scenography, it left us to ask the following: do we construct the experiencing of scenography and performance through the conventions of the theatre that is performer/spectator, seen/unseen, sensed/felt, light/darkness, stasis/movement, silence/sound and imagined/real? Exploring the themes scenography and architecture, the article will propose that scenography, the body and spectacle become implicated through the spatial appearances of site-specific performance. To position scenography within site-specific performance will not be based on making more dualities as above or more widely, a debate of formal space (theatre) versus informal space (site-specific), rather it will be about `positioning and `situating scenography. Positioning, it will be argued, is the resistance to fixity and permanence, conjuring scenography in a constant state of flux. Situating will be argued as the spatial exchange with spectator and performer through site and place. It can be said that the interior architecture of the theatre constructs a societal `self-fascination or a constructed self-scenography: re-presenting and mirroring society in and as performance. Theatre sets in motion an outmoded historical `visuality, something Hal Foster informs us is `a social construct for an organized collective vision (1998). The question then arises: is the experiencing of site-specific performance a shift away from this outmoded historical `visuality or just a repositioning of theatrical scenography into outer-theatre spaces?
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