A selection of the Prague Quadrennial 2011 exhibtion: Intersection, Intimacy and Spectacle by MESS architects was presented in Chile in the international theater festival Santiago 2012. In this ocassion, the Festival promoted the displacement of the conventional concept of theater to other forms of art linked to performance, visual arts and architecture. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The proposal not only confused the notion of public space with the collective (private) space but also included in one of the 8 “boxes” the same diptych video that the author presented in the last PQ2011 to represent Chile in the architecture section. The videos shown were done with the collaboration of an architect (Javier Rioseco) and a visual artist (Nicolas Rupcich). This double video piece tenses what is visible and what is not, what is privileged from what is not, while inviting us to analyze the collective drama of the nation we have in Chile.
For Tisi of MESS, the Boxes at the GAM assumed the encounter of a possible and an impossible worlds, all available for the people that normally transit through its space. The occasion also meant a public access to the most emblematic building we have today in the country, in terms of performing arts. The project was meant to refurbished the UNCTAD building, to celebrate the bicentennial of the nation. This show provided a unique opportunity to meet different views on art works to articulate different understandings of performance.
The boxes were a live show that collectively induced the participation and, above all, the collaboration between artists and spectators, and citizens who participated to contribute in the piece. In the whole, the piece meant the transformation of the landscape that we usually have and experience. It is in this sense that the selection that accompanied Tisi, included prominent artists such as Romeo Castellucci (Italy), Monika Pormale (Latvia), the duo Maurenrol’s (Latvia), Anna Viebrock (Germany), Bohdan Holomicek (Czech Republic) and Hans Rosenstrom (Finland). All these works considered significant aspects to question what it means to do theater in the world we live today, and particularly, highlights the role that theater and architecture have in our society. Besides these international artists, Tisi, inside one Box, presented the above mentioned diptych entitled “Survival Acts.” With his contribution a sample from Chile added to the question that all artists in Prague tried to answer: what is performance ? and who does it? Tisi’s proposal present a diffuse limit between author and audience, between performer and interpreter, to highlight that architecture can also say and do something in this direction.
Tisi was interested to explore more about the effects of architecture and its relationship to the world of “actors” and “spectators” inserted in the everyday life. The strategic position in the access of GAM meant for him the opportunity to cross and merge private places that articulate a public “meeting” just in the intersection of the spaces between (outide) and within-the-Boxes. The installation in Prague marked the development of a work that deliberately was pointing to intersect the world of visual arts with the world of performing arts, and architecture, to question the relevant places and experiences we have in our day routines. The installation that was presented in Prague at the National Theatre Square, had now its counterpart in Chile, appearing in the access of the former Diego Portales building (a building charged with the history of the military dictatorship).
In order to develop his ideas Rodrigo Tisi invited architect Pablo Despouy to work in the collaborative platform MESS. Tisi was no longer interested in having new performing arts spaces under the wings of a conventional building (of theater) but was interested to highlight the configuration of the Boxes presented in Europe: a maze. The theatrical concept of “black box” was explored again. At this time, in a much more public sense, related to an specific area of a city (around GAM), a site specific intervention, accessible to everyone. In other words, the access to GAM was transformed with this installation into a multiple access (through a maze) that emphasized different works of a “theatrical” dimension in the free public space that the building offers. The works of the boxes were interpreted by objects. They all functioned as real “actors” to be witnessed by unconventional spectators (of the quotidian realm). This intersection also proposed the same issues highlighted by the Boxes in Prague, which were linking the world of theater to the activities of the spaces we live in the everyday-life. That is why this installation is valuable, because it wonders about architecture, at the time that unfolds, a temporal construction of the public. It is possible now, to find new meaning in the ordinary experiences we have when we live the spaces of the city. Architecture now expands in the sense of representation and meaning.
The installation was developed through a design that addressed several issues, the first and most significant one has to do with the sense of public. It articulated a series of flows, from the Alameda street to the GAM, to interfere with the arrival and entry but without interfering to “complicate” the normal functioning of the place, by subverting it. The layout considered a route to visit all the Boxes, and not only of the ones outside the GAM, but also the interior ones, where conventional theater normally happens. The installation solved strategically the flows of the public and overall the noise levels of the place. That is why the architects decided to use a double skin for the construction. On the one hand, to solve the issue of “scenography” inside the boxes and of course the efficiency in the inside and the outside. The outer skin considered a plot of compressed blocks (grass bales of alfalfa) that had the mission to solve the acoustics and also to promote meetings, inviting people to sit and watch the “show.” The natural green of the proposal transformed the solid hard square of the GAM by using the language of the black box, the “behind the scenes” and set which belong to the language of theater.