Scenography and The Body: Movement, Gesture, Sensation

Deadline: Thursday 13 April 2017

The Scenography Working Group invites proposals for our forthcoming meeting at the annual TaPRA conference in Salford in September 2017. This year’s meeting will focus on questions around the body: movement, gesture and the sensory experience in scenographic practice. In June 2016 an experiment at Sadlers Wells, introduced scenographic elements of dance performance, without the dancer: No Body. This immersive, multi-installation piece presented light and sound commissions by Michael Hulls, Jan Urbanowski, Nick Hillel and Lucy Carter, with compositions by Nitin Sawhney, Jules Maxwell, Andy Cowton and Mukul. The installations were presented in public and non-public spaces of the venue, creating new relationships between the audience and the building. Sadler’s Wells, as a dance institution, commonly presents work informed by the body and movement. In No Body, the pieces were led by scenography but still required a physical relationship between the body of the spectator/participant and the media through the phenomenological experiencing of being bathed in light or immersed in sound. A Century on from Meyerhold’s Constructivist System and Biomechanics, through Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet, to the collaborations between Rauschenburg and Cunningham, we find scenography informing movement and performance as often as the reverse. Lighting designer Michael Hulls and choreographer Russell Maliphant have a mutually dependent process, where their work “is characterised by a unique approach to flow and energy and an ongoing exploration of the relationship between movement, light and music.” Joslin McKinney argued: “concepts of kinesthetic empathy can assist with conceptualising scenography as a bodily as well as a visual experience and how empathetic sharing of bodily sensation might influence conscious reflection on scenography.” In this context, we would like to invite presentations and discussions around how scenography moves us (as audience or performer), how we might apprehend scenography through our bodies and our senses, how scenography might suggest or provoke a bodily response. We invite presentation proposals from a wide variety of scholars and practitioners. Fully embracing the interdisciplinarity of the field, we are keen to include proposals that would be suitable for panel sessions open to members of other working groups, or joint proposals from members of more than one working group. As a working group we actively promote practice-as-research methods and welcome proposals in a variety of different presentation formats. These formats can include, but are not limited to:

  • 20min paper/practice presentation
  • PechaKucha
  • Exhibition and Installation work
  • Performance Practice
If you plan to submit a proposal that includes a technical or spatial requirement, early consultation with us is important if you are planning something large, unusual or complicated. Your presentation proposal, irrespective of format, should include a 300 word abstract along with a short biography. Suggested topics relating to the broad theme of ‘Scenography and the Body: Movement, Gesture, Sensation’ include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Scenography and embodied/kinesthetic perception
  • Movement informed by costume
  • Movement informed by light
  • The relationships between audience and/or performers’ bodies and space
  • Sensory experience and scenography
  • Tacit embodied knowledge of scenographers or other practitioners
  • Audience choreographies
  • Choreographies of changing spaces/locations/scenes
  • Scenography and its bodily affects
  Please email all abstracts (no more than 300 words in length), an additional few sentences of biographical information and precise details of the audio-visual technology you will need to make your presentation to Lucy Thornett, and Kathrine Sandys, The deadline for the submission of proposals is Thursday 13 April 2017. References
  1. Russell Maliphant Company (2015) “About”, Russell Maliphant Company. [online] Accessed 28th February 2017.
  2. McKinney, Joslin. 2012. “Empathy and Exchange: Audience Experiences of Scenography.” In Kinesthetic Empathy in Creative and Cultural Practices, edited by Matthew Reason and Dee Reynolds. Bristol: Intellect. p 222

Please note: only one proposal may be submitted for a TaPRA event. It is not permitted to submit multiple proposals or submit the same proposal to several Calls for Participation. All presenters must be TaPRA members, i.e. registered for the event; this includes presentations given by Skype or other media broadcast even where the presenter may not physically attend the event venue.

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