What is Scenography?

Ran Brown

What is Scenography?

In this current issue of Maakaf writers set out to look for the reasons for the immense growth of the discipline in the past few decades, and why is it, simply, more than ‘stage design’. Scenography can be seen as a complex artistic field that inhabits the space between visual arts, architecture, design, and the performing arts.

It can be examined either as a vital component of all genres involving performance and the stage, or, as an ingredient that has the capacity to create, transform, and fill the space, the body, and their relationship within the work: or in other words – the performance itself. It was Henri Lefebvre who suggested that “the space is constituted neither by a collection of things or an aggregate of (sensory) data, nor by a void packed like a parcel with various contents, and that it is irreducible to a 'form' imposed upon phenomena, upon things, upon physical materiality. If I am successful, the social character of space, here posited as a preliminary hypothesis, will be confirmed as we go along”.

If everyday space is the perfect example of ‘thinking as design’, how can then the stage as a space be thought of in context of design? Lefebvre defined art "less as a code of space than as a code of representational spaces". The complexity of this code is what we will try and examine in this present issue.
It is also, in some way, a response to Lefebvre’s call to look at body and space, an attempt to bridge theory and practice, while focusing on the way in which space ‘performs itself’.

In this issue we have brought together many artists and makers who, in their respective fields, offer different ways of viewing scenography. Amit Drori writes form his experience of working as a director and set designer for his stage show Terminal, and shares with the readers his design and direction processes. Guy Gutman offers a cross-genre list in an attempt to define scenography. Tamuz Binshtok speaks with architect Oren Sagiv on scenography as ‘transient architecture’. Moshe Perlstein examines how theoretical mathematics and physics concepts of order and its disordering are represented in contemporary German theatre. Adva Zakai is looking into the relationship between space, objects and the performer following her performance in artist Yael Davids’ work. Orit Adar-Bechar presents images of the miniature works she’s making as a series of photographs. Tsuf Itschaki, who is eavesdropping on a conversation between Tali Itzhaki and Nati Shamia-Ofer, sitting in for this issue’s The Flies on The Wall.

the"Praktika" editorial  brings you current and up-to-date information on a large performance and scenography festival taking place this coming summer in Prague, as well as education programs, festivals, residencies, competitions and collaborative opportunities. All the information is collated for the purpose of supporting and promotion local art making. This is also an opportunity to encourage you readers to share with us any relevant information you may have.

From Hebrew: Sivan Gabrielovich - Gal

Cover Image: King Obo, following from Alfred Jarry, Volksbühne, Berlin 2008.   
Dir: Dimiter Gotscheff
Stage Design: Katrin Brack
Photography: Thomas Aurin
The full article can be found in the Who Said What editorial.