4th Global Conference
Wednesday 7th July 2010 – Friday 9th July 2010
Mansfield College, Oxford
Visualising Theatre: Scenography from Concept to Design to Realisation
Department of Theatre Studies, University of Peloponnese, Greece
Scenography, in other words set and costume design, forms the visual and spatial poetics of performance. It includes “dramatic, emotion and communication elements” and contributes to the creation of the aesthetic context of theatrical action. Scenography is not a complete form of art by itself, it is not one entity. According to the leading Italian scenographer Luciano Damiani, scenography “only comes to life when the dynamism of the human body penetrates the space”.
As all types of design, scenography follows a process of development from concept to realisation; this procedure encompasses trials and mistakes, successes and failures. The route for the creation of a theatrical set or costume is conditioned by the dynamics and freedom of imagination. At the same time, this process is also a well-structured course which is fulfilled with effectual management and the development of a series of given parameters. These parameters are defined as ‘conditions’ for a scenographic creation and include the artistic creators, the technical collaborators, the techniques and materials, the element of time and the predicted budget. Scenography requires knowledge, research, patience and persistence.
The designer is the leading creator of the scenographic aesthetic result; he/she, however, has to collaborate with a surprisingly large number of collaborators, at different phases. How the actual scenographic composition that is realised is affected by these intermediary co-creators? How is a common visual language developed? And how close is the final result to the initial idea of the designer?
This paper aims to discuss the magical process of realising a visual environment for the theatre, seen as an ‘aesthetic orchestration’. The stages and characteristics of the process from concept to design and then to realisation are investigated, as well as other individual parameters, philosophical and practical, which influence the creation of a visual and spatial composition in theatre. In the end, scenography is completed only after the performance is being presented to the audience, when, by means of visual perception of the theatrical action, it transforms in the head of the spectator to anything possible.
Behind the Screen: Accessing Digital Texts
Toronto Catholic District School Board, Toronto, Canada
As media literacy becomes an integral part of Language Arts curricula, educators are called to make effective use of new and emerging technologies and to address the new literacies that accompany them. Our students are faced with the formidable task of retrieving, decoding and interpreting multiple messages instantaneously. Electronic environments have meant that in order to gather information, communicate effectively, and create innovatively, one must be able to read, select, evaluate and reproduce not only text, but image as well. Without a clear understanding of a wide variety of graphics and text features, access to information can be limited and even denied. Further, interactivity becomes impossible.
This qualitative research report investigates a group of Grade seven and eight students at a Toronto Elementary school. Over a three week period, twenty-one twelve and thirteen year old students participated in a study which examined their online research behaviours. It looked at their ability to identify the purpose and function of a variety of online text features.
The findings indicate that in order for students to locate and access online information they must first be comfortable and familiar with the graphics found within digital texts. When provided with exercises which highlight specific features and demand engagement with them, students can identify and use them with accuracy. While students are impressed with the graphic and interactive elements of the Internet, the findings suggest that they can learn to distinguish between those which entertain and those which serve as tools to deeper exploration.
The development of online visual literacy skills is dependent upon educators providing students with ongoing opportunities to engage in purposeful inquiry, teaching them to recognize and utilize the visual and interactive elements of the digital sources they encounter. It is essential that students today have the visual literacy skills necessary to unscramble and make meaning from the multimodal messages which impact their everyday lives.
“Another Gay Sunshine Day”: Embodying New Social Semiotics in Gay Anarchistic Comedies
Film & TV Department, Tel Aviv University, Israel
The New Queer Cinema in the late 2000s is characterized by the growing confidence and self-assurance of the gay community and its subcultures, visual vocabularies and dissident sexual imageries. In particular, the new, provocative subgenre of Anarchistic Queer Comedies encourages a new social semiotics of the gay community and its diverse, often contradicted subcultures and role models. This article focuses on the politics of the spectacle in Todd Stephens’ films Another Gay Movie (USA 2006) and Another Gay Sequel: Gays Gone Wild! (USA 2008). These films not only visualize the emergent queer folklore with its own jokes, music, dance, fashion, accessories, icons, myths, imageries, proverbs, beliefs, innuendos, gestures and mimicry. Rather, they demonstrate a unique, often surprising reflexivity, self-examination and self-parodizing of physical and cultural imperatives in contemporary gay communities. These films, self-advertised as “the gay version of American Pie,” create a new pastiche of sassy youth comedies, sex comedies, flamboyant melodramas and comics aesthetics, creating a unexpected theatre of homoeroticized transgressions and phallic obsessions. At the same time, they fantasize, criticize and challenge diverse gay lifestyles and masculinities. Significantly, this new cinema suggests a new carnivalesque reading of the construction of modern gay visual culture. These new anarchistic gay comedies stimulate the development of a new, innovative visual literacy that corresponds to a new cinematic queer epistemology.