Two Days in Copenhagen

We’ve arrive back in the apartment after our second day in Copenhagen. I will refrain from saying we’re here for Cop15, because, while I’m interested in what’s going on in there, I’m really here to see the creative responses collected in this place at this time. That isn’t to say we didn’t go to the Bella Center, we did, but it’s not our primary goal.

I had the opportunity to check in with Martin Rosengaard of while Miranda was delayed in London, as well as get a very helpful and personal tour of the city on bike by our host (and sterling scenographer) Sara Vilslev, a friend from the 2007 Prague Quadrennial.

On Sunday we headed to the Bright Green Expo at the Forum. It is the concurrent trade show for green tech during COP15. There was a promise of the inclusion of cultural programming, so it seemed like a good place to start. The Cultural programming really consisted of a DJ/VJ set for about an hour by CPH:DOX remixing Cities on Speed. We moved on pretty quickly: green-tech (good or green-washing) is green-tech. We’re into it, but it’s better covered elsewhere.


We then continued on to view the CO2 Cube floating by the Tycho Brahe Planetarium. After the artist renderings  was surprised to see it’s construction was of shipping containers and that it had media on 2 of 4 sides. They were recalibrating the video, but we got some footage you can see from posts yesterday. We only strayed away for a little while so that we could wander towards the Downtown Hopenhagen Live area until we spoke with Deanne LeRue of the Meridian Health Foundation and Millennium Art and Steve Mason of Obscrua Digital.

Afterwards we returned for some quality time with the work at Hopenhagen Live. This green glowing cluster of portable exhibition rooms showcased policy, the integration of sustainable solutions into the city scape and some creative interpretations highlighting everyday relationships to the environment. A favorite was The Apartment, seen in a quick video here:


We wandered to the Polar Ice Bear to check it’s melt status, slowed by the freezing temperatures we’ve dipped into. After dinner we headed over to the CO2 Cube Reception, which was a high class affair, no pictures, but we did catch some night footage of the cube.

We did miss the demonstrations going south, which you’ll likely know resulted in hundreds of arrests. We did hear the helicopters and sirens as Police sprung into action, preemptively arresting people after a group of anarchists started egging them on. Tensions are a little high now, though the majority of all demonstrations have been peaceful.

With everything going on, we felt it was important to offer some guidance around town. So, to help others better find the arts activities occurring in Copenhagen, I spent the rest of the night trying to get everything onto our events calendar and created a google map for those who want to find their way around, guided by Eco-Arts.

Monday is now wrapping up and the center of the city, all the way to the Bella Center is policed to within an inch of it’s life. However, we both leave (though I return just 24 hours later) on Tuesday, so Monday became about trying to see everything that was open (like many cities, cultural institutions in Copenhagen are closed on Mondays).


We began by heading to the wrong address for the Poulsen Gallery. But, once we found our mistake, we were able to make it to the installation of Ghost Forest in Thorvaldsens Plads, right around the corner from the real Poulsen Gallery. It’s quite breath-taking, especially with a proper background in the process of getting these stumps here. But, even as we seemed to be some of a few onlookers, there was a constant police presence here and along the canal.


LED at 7 meters high, where the sea will rise here if Greenland's ice sheet melts.

The Poulsen Gallery has been turned over to The Colonel (said phonetically and not as one who serves fried chicken or in the military), the identity of french artist Thierry Geoffroy, as his HQ for a number of evolving projects during COP15. This is serving as the headquarters for the Yes Men and their SurvivaBalls (registered trademark), a series of Critical Runs, Facebook projects, and whatever else they come up with while here. It’s advised to check in with them regularly. Upon my return, I’ll likely head back over to try and talk to some of them about what they are doing. We were lucky to be invited to a semi-junket event, which we’ll get to in a moment.

With the short daylight moments dwindling, we walked to the Bella Center, hoping to find the path set by Glowing Climate, which we were able to find some of as we got closer.

It should be remarked that the Bella Center is not in the center of Copenhagen. It is, from our lodgings, 8.4km or 5.2 miles. From the center of town it is 5.9km or 3.7 miles.

While we didn’t see much until right up to the Bella Center, as the lights from 7m began to appear overhead.  Once we were there the walk was worth it. The Pulse of the Earth is a fantastically creepy piece and really lends to the night time, what I’d venture to call semi-apocalyptic scene that is the entrance to the barricaded center. This is entirely appropriate, COP15 itself is semi-apocalyptic. Between the pulsing red lights of the installation, the cold an huddled hopeful observers lined up at the fences, scores of police,‘s and Climate Action Network‘s Jumbotron showing the award for fossil of the day, press, vegans dressed in animal costumes pass out bags for converts and the ground littered with pamphlets (really now), it was all a bit amazing to see.


As the talks let out, we hopped the metro back into town. We had diner and made it to the Poulsen Gallery event, were we saw a demonstration of the SurviaBall (still a registered trademark), were treated to a song from the Red Suited Climate Debt Agents (accompanied by the green suited Mr. Green from Oxfam), and milled about the gallery while that day’s talks were remixed for ambiance.

We made out way home, finding that it too was lined with the flashing red markers from 7m, just as the reports of clashes between activists and police in Christiania started to make it into our news feed. I had planned to visit Christiania upon returning from the sojourn to London, but that’s now differently colored. Word on the street was that the police had left the area, to some great extent, alone, as to focus on the Bella Center and downtown. As I write, it is being evacuated and those in cafés are being told to leave or be arrested.

It’s getting colder here in Copenhagen, but tensions are starting to boil over.

Tomorrow we both head to London. Miranda will continue to head on home, but I will be there for the Future Arcola launch event at City Hall. I will also , finally, meet William Shaw of the RSA in person, after missing him by hours in Copenhagen.

More recap soon. When I return the museums and exhibition halls will be open, while parts of town are shut down. And I’m curious as to see how we move around the city when Obama arrives on Friday.

P.S. It was the Yes Men

etIntersection: Scenography Expanding


Scenography Expanding

Symposia 1-3

Riga – Belgrade – Evora 2010

Scenography Expanding

Invitation and Call for Papers

Throughout the past decade, scenographic practice and performance design have continuously moved beyond the black box of the theatre toward a hybrid terrain located at the intersections of theatre, architecture, exhibition, visual arts, and media. This terrain and its spaces are constructed from action and interaction. They are defined by individual and group behavior, and are contrasted by distinct behavioral patterns.

It is proposed here that spaces that are staged in such a way –  spaces that are at the same time hybrid, mediated, narrative, and transformative – result from a trans-disciplinary understanding of space and a distinct awareness of social agency. These two factors of “expansion” are seen as the central driving forces in contemporary scenographic practice and thought.

With the aim of initiating and hosting an active and trans-disciplinary discourse on the notion of an expanding scenography, the  Prague Quadrennial for Performance Design and Space issues an invitation for participation and a Call for Papers for the symposia and workshop sessions, Scenography Expanding 1-3 in 2010. Grouped under the overriding and programmatic title of Scenography Expanding, invited academic papers, artist’s presentations and expert workshop sessions will be looking to engage with notions of spectatorship, artists/authors, and curating in relation to the diverse artistic positions in contemporary spatial design.

In preparation for the Intersection Project of the Prague Quadrennial in June, 2011, we invite researchers in practice and theory (artists, curators, programers, directors, dramaturgs, critics, and theorists) to participate in 3 international scenography symposia held in Riga, Belgrade and Évora during 2010. The overall aim of these symposia is to unfold the wide range of disciplines, genres, theoretical, and artistic positions that comprise the relationships between spectator, artist/author and curator in contemporary scenographic/performance design practice.

Scenography Expanding 1-3 will be followed up by a peer-reviewed publication comprised of selected speakers` contributions in the form of academic papers and visual essays.  Guidelines for authors will be available shortly via download from

Scenography Expanding 1: On Spectatorship

February 25 – 27, 2010

New Theatre Institute of Latvia, Riga, Latvia

Speaker presentations, panel discussions, and workshop sessions engage with effects of the proposed “scenographic turn” on notions of spectatorship in performance design and space.

How are contemporary theories of spectatorship expanding by the increasingly hybrid spaces that we inhabit – in theatre (performance), architecture, exhibition, and media?  Is “space” becoming a governing factor in the negotiation between performers and spectators?

Do hybrid spaces invite new agendas to be explored, performed, exhibited, and constructed? Does an expanding notion of scenography challenge/confirm established notions of live-ness and re-mediation?

Deadline for registration and submission of abstracts (please download the application form at 15.12.2009

Scenography Expanding 2: On Artists/Authors

July 9 – 11, 2010

BELEF Center and Festival, Belgrade, Serbia

Speaker presentations, panel discussions, and workshop sessions investigate the question of the identity of the artist/author in the conceptualization, construction and participation in hybrid scenographic and performance design spaces.

Who are the artists and teams responsible for creating contemporary scenographies in theatre, performance, architecture, exhibition, installation, and media? Is and/or how is the trans-disciplinary nature of scenographic teams reflected in the theoretical discourse on scenography? When does audience become a co-creator? When does a curator become a co-creator?

Deadline for registration and submission of abstracts (please download the application form at 15.3.2010

Scenography Expanding 3: On Curating

September 27 – 29, 2010

Festival Escrita na Paisagem and Centro de História da Arte e Investigação Artística (CHAIA), Évora, Portugal

Speaker presentations, panel discussions, and workshop sessions are concerned with the complex role of the curator in exhibiting spatial practice. A range of models, examples, and future perspectives are introduced and discussed. How is scenographic practice in theatre (performance), architecture, exhibition, installation, and media framed in order to curate, program, communicate, display and reflect? When does an artist become a curator? Who is the author of the space? What are contemporary perspectives on the display of ephemeral practice? Between Badious’ call for “decidedness” (2005) and Bourriauds’ relational aesthetics (2002) – where do we stand?

Deadline for registration and submission of abstracts (please download the application form at 15.6.2010

Symposia Conveners

Sodja Lotker, Prague Quadrennial Artistic Director

Thea Brejzek, Prague Quadrennial Curator for Theory

Please send abstracts of 300 words max, and a short bio to: and (please download the application form at

We will inform you within two weeks of the submission deadline whether your proposal

has been accepted.

More information, including registration forms and the full program (keynote speakers and speakers, publication details, etc.), will be updated on:

Join our mailing list to get the latest information:

The symposia are part of the Intersection: Intimacy and Spectacle – a special international project of the Prague Quadrennial that explores performance and performativity as important elements of diverse art and cultural disciplines, focusing on performance design and scenography as interdisciplinary fields.  The project will consist of two central parts: research symposia as well as interactive installations/performance that will take place in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Serbia, Latvia, Ireland, Great Britain, Estonia, Finland, Norway and Portugal during 2011 and 2012.

Intersection project is organized by the Prague Quadrennial (CZ) in co-operation with the New Theatre Institute of Latvia (LAT); the Irish Theatre Institute (IE); the Victoria and Albert Museum (GB); the BELEF Festival (RS); the Kretakör Theatre Company (HU); the National Theatre Prague (CZ); Ente Teatrale Italiano (IT); Kiasma Theatre, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art (FI); as well as the Institute of Design & Technology, Design Department, Zurich University of the Arts ZHdK (CH); the Escrita na Paisagem’s Festival de Performance e Artes da Terra (PT); the Centro de História da Arte e Investigação Artística (PT).

With the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union.

The Prague Quadrennial is organized by Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and Arts and Theatre Institute.

CSPA December 09 Newsletter

cpslogocolorOn Friday we both head to Copenhagen for the New Life Copenhagen Festival, the arts festival surrounding COP15, which began on Monday. During our stay in Europe, we’ll also be checking in on Future Arcola and a project for the 2011 Prague Quadrennial. December will be a very exciting, if not a bit chilly, month. We also have open calls for the next edition of the Quarterly and Mammut, which will be guest edited by the CSPA. As we approach the New Year, we hope that your winter is cozy (for the right reasons) and that we’ll be seeing you often in 2010!

Ian Garrett & Miranda Wright

CSPA Directors

CSPA December 09 Newsletter.

Organizers of the Prague Quadrennial announce the new title and concept for 2011

The twelfth edition of the biggest international exhibition dedicated to scenography and theatre architecture Prague Quadrennial (PQ) will take place in June 2011, however, organizers are already busy preparing it. The PQ 2011 wants to introduce a large number of performance disciplines from theatre and visual arts to even larger audience than in 2007 when almost 30.000 visitors and 5.000 active participants visited the PQ 07.

After more than 40 years of existence, the Prague Quadrennial International Exhibition of Scenography and Theatre Architecture is changing its name to the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space, with the goal of breaking down the often imaginary differences between the performance fields. “In the next edition we want to include a wider range of disciplines and genres connected to performance design and to observe current trends in contemporary performance,” explains Sodja Lotker, Artistic Director of the PQ. This is also the reason for widening the international team of curators and commissioners for each section and project. Boris Kudlička, Slovak stage designer, was appointed the General Commissioner of the PQ.

The Prague Quadrennial will be traditionally divided in three main sections: the Section of Countries and Regions, the Architecture Section and the Student Section. “In these days we officially call for countries from all over the world to take part in all three sections and we announce the deadline for applications – 30th June 2009,” says Pavla Petrová, the Director of the PQ and the Arts and Theatre Institute. The event is focused on professionals and general public.

The Prague Quadrennial is announced by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and it appoints the Arts and Theatre Institute to be the organizer. More information can be found at

The Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space is the largest event of its kind in the world – presenting contemporary work in a variety of performance design disciplines and genres – costume, stage, light, sound design, and theatre architecture for dance, opera, drama, site specific, multi-media performances, and performance art, etc. Every four years, since it’s establishing in 1967, the Prague Quadrennial has presented work from more than seventy countries, from five continents, in individual countries’ expositions in three competitive sections. The Golden Triga is awarded for the best exposition as well as gold medals.

The largest part of the PQ 2011 will be again the Section of Countries and Regions that represents works from all performance design disciplines in each country and region in the past six years. The organizers hope that the national curators will have a strong concept that will introduce unique and specific contemporary trends in a given country or region. Works can be presented in a group exhibition, a monographic exhibition of a single artist or an exposition/installation that it itself is performance space. Organizers hope to strengthen presentation in all scenographic disciplines at the PQ 2011 and relations among them. Fifty-one countries from five continents took part in this section in 2007.

Like in the previous years, vast space will be dedicated to students of art schools in the so-called Student Section. After great success of the last edition of the PQ, the project Scenofest will strengthen the educational aspect again. It is a common project of the Prague Quadrennial and the International Organization of Scenographers, Theatre Architects and Technicians (OISTAT). The program of Scenofest will consist of workshops, lectures, performances etc. The great interest from the students in the PQ 07 demonstrates the importance of the event; 2.200 students of theatre and art schools took part in it.

The Architecture Section will deal with the question “What is a theatre now?”. The section aims to strengthen a dialogue among theatre architecture, stage design and contemporary theatre. It is conceived as a gathering ground for stage designers and other theatremakers with creators of theatre space. The section will focus on all types of theatre space: constructed (built), performed (improvised) and imagined (unbuilt) in the 21st century.

Although the exhibition takes place in 2011, the deadline of the applications for the countries and regions which are interested in participating in the PQ 2011 is 30th June 2009. Each country participating in the PQ must appoint its own curator who sends the obligatory application for the individual sections and coordinates the representation of their country in the PQ. Further artistic and organizational conditions of participation in the PQ are stated in the Statute and Concept and can be found at

Other programs that will address the international public will accompany three exhibition sections of the Prague Quadrennial. Programs are designed to create a platform for creative exchange between the theatre professionals, students and public. A successful program in the streets of Prague will be repeated, as well as the program PQ for Children.

The PQ 2011 is prepared by an international team of professionals. Dorita Hannah, an architect and stage designer from New Zealand was appointed a Commissioner of the Architecture Section. A leading British sound designer Steven Brown became a curator of sound design. Simona Rybáková, Czech costume designer and the winner of the Golden Triga in 1999, is a curator of a costume project Extreme Materials. American lighting designer Cindy Limauro will lead Scenofest. A German director and theatre researcher Thea Brejzek was appointed the curator of theory. A Czech stage designer and director Tomáš Žižka is in charge of a project focused on African theatre. An interactive installation/performance called Intersection will be an important part of the PQ 2011 with many international partners. The whole event will be accompanied by a rich program composed of lectures, presentations, discussions, costume shows, meetings and theatre performances.

A Slovak stage designer Boris Kudlička is the General Commissioner for the Prague Quadrennial 2011. Kudlička works mainly for opera, ballet and film. He has collaborated with many leading scenes in Europe and the USA and important directors and conductors like Mariusz Trelinski, Roman Polanski, Keith Warner, Dale Duising, Kent Nagano or Placido Domingo. Boris Kudlička has taken part in three editions of the PQ and he won the Golden Medal for the best use of theatre technology in 2007. He also received Dosky 2003 award, Norwid Award (Polish Theatre Institute), the Award of the Minister of Culture of Poland Gloria Artis.

The core of the PQ management is Pavla Petrová – Director, Sodja Zupanc Lotker – Artistic Director, Daniela Pařízková – Deputy Director and Petr Prokop as Head Manager. 

The place and date of the PQ 2011 will be announced during 2009 because the left wing of the Industrial Palace that hosted the PQ in previous years was destroyed by fire in October 2008.

Detailed information including a concept, status and archive of past editions of the Prague Quadrennial since 1967 are available at