The installation The Cloud in the courtyard of the Clam-Gallas Palace consists of balloons that simulate a cloud with which visitors can engage directly; they are thus confronted with the weather — which will always be different than the forecast. If it is overcast, this doesn't always mean that the sun is not shining. The installation is created by well-known British theatre designer Simon Banham.
noun: condition of atmosphere at a certain time and place.
verb: to weather - to change form or appearance [through wearing away]
verb: to weather - to come safely through or withstand a difficult situation.
[perhaps] the creation of atmospheres in a certain space and through time.
[often] the alteration of form and appearance.
[hopefully] a challenging and transformative experience.
We no longer live so directly within the weather. Many of us have ceased to farm the lands and the seas and it is now much easier to seek refuge inside, away from the wind, out of the rain, sheltering from the heat. But to be in weather, particularly when it is in transition, is to be alert to, and conscious of, time and place. As weather changes, our sense of and relationship to our location changes.
And so too Scenography changes our perception of space and how we inhabit it, it can teach us to look and allow us to see. With all our senses.
Here in Prague there is a gathering of elements, conditions that will shape the way we experience the world. Over the next 10 days we would advise that you come prepared for every type of weather. There is no shelter to be found indoors, indeed these elements might be more extreme within our walls. We would ask you to keep a 'weather eye' out for those climates that we can't control. We encourage you to embrace these agents of disruption, the ungovernable clouds, the unforeseen rainstorms, the ephemeral and changeable atmospheres. We ask you to explore, sometimes as guest, sometimes as participant, the uncertain conclusions and unknown consequences to be found within our weather stations, rooms that contain the elusive echoes of a particular place at a particular moment.
We would ask you to talk about the weather both as a topic for polite conversation and as a cathartic catalyst. Through these conversations we invite you to meet someone and something [a]new
With the Weather + Scenography theme we issue an invitation to explore the intangible, the transient and the accidental. The moments when 'being there' reveals the here and the now and the 'potentially' never again. A shared experience, exploring the permeable border between maker and watcher.
As a result of this invitation you might encounter:
The Weather outside: the weather as co-author, a transient and changeable (mood-y) collaborator.
When placing work outside, the weather is potentially a highly positive agent of disruption and can become the most significant optic through which we might view that work. This might be vivid crimson sunsets or blankets of cloud, driving rain or endless drizzle, mysterious mists or impenetrable fog, natural events that carry their own inherent dramaturgy.
The Weather within: the weather as scenographic element, taking the outside inside.
The creation of weather inside: fog, rain, wind and temperature variations are all elements that can regularly inhabit our theatre spaces; what are the consequences of inviting what's out there in here? Perhaps, as an agent of disruption the potential risk is greater when we attempt to control the weather? Perhaps we should 'allow' it to destroy the other scenographies and embrace the uncertainty?
The Weather within us: the audience as weather.
As well as the 'temperature' of a 'passive' audience that can affect the atmosphere of an event, what happens when an audience is given direct agency? When there is an invitation to act? When the spectator becomes a creative actant, a force (of nature).
Let us offer you another invitation. When you start your conversation about the weather perhaps you could also [mis]pronounce or [mis]hear 'weather' as 'whether', and open an opportunity to ask-
"what if ?"
Commissioner: Simon Banham
photo: Uupi Tirronen
Video: Tomáš Jáně