Biennale fever has been running rampant for the last decade, so much so that it seems that hardly a city or region in the world has escaped its infectious cloud. Prague surely wasn’t immune; their 5th Biennale is opening as I write this. Don’t get me wrong, I love the buzz and excitement of a Biennale. It’s just that when there’s so many, and they’re literally everywhere, sometimes it gets hard to remember they’re special. A Quadrennial, on the other hand, is something quite unique, and coming just every 4 years instead of the usual 2, could it even be twice as good?
Before I forget, there’s another unique thing about the Prague Quadrennial; its focus is performance and theatre. Here you can expect artists working across the contemporary disciplines of performance, visual arts, architecture, new media, lighting and sound design, fashion, installation, costuming and photography all exhibiting alongside each other towards one common aim: expanding the encompassing art form of sceneography. Now that’s a lot of art forms! Sure to be a highlight is the International Competitive Exhibition. Theatrical presentations will be made by over 60 participating countries and regions but best of all, spectators will be able to enter, see, touch and fully immerse themselves in any other way possible in these sceneographic environments and attend live performances. With further expositions of lighting and sound, architecture, and even “extreme costume”, there’s sure to be something to suit every taste.
Events will be taking place all over the city between June 16th and June 26th and are far too many to list here, so go on and discover more about the Prague Quadrennial on their website, and then go discover Prague through the eyes of artists.
Images courtesy of the Prague Quadrennial
Before it was referred to as “The Sad Mute” by locals, Victor Hugo celebrated his 70th birthday there and it was where some of the world’s most famous dance troupes graced the stages when in Paris. No longer the eyesore of Paris’s 10th Arrondissement, the newly renovated Gaîté Lyrique is a pulsating centre of digital art, music and electronics. The original building was constructed in 1862 and was a visual declaration of Napoleon Bonaparte’s showy extravagance. Over the next 100 years it fell into a slow decline. In the 70’s it housed a circus school, it was gutted for a poor imitation of Disneyland, “Planète Magique,” in the 1980’s, after which it fell into a general state of disrepair.
In the early 2000’s Manuelle Gautrand was given free reign to salvage what he could and create a theatre and design centre of the future with the rest. What remains of the old theatre, namely the meticulously restored grand marble lobby and the café with towering arched windows, contrasts spectacularly with the futuristic interactive sound and light installations and the arcade where visitors are invited to play, read and work.
The renovation of 7 floors and over 100,000 square feet cost an extraordinary 61 million Euros. The space anticipates holding at least 3 concerts a week and over 120 live multi-media exhibitions and shows per year. With so much space that is completely up to date technologically, it’s not hard to imagine the Gaîté Lyrique becoming one of Paris’s artistic hubs. The space houses galleries, concert halls, sound studios, a library, lecture halls, screening rooms, you name it. This is really the beauty of the space, it was designed not to be a specific type of venue, rather to readily evolve to the need of the function. Perhaps Paris’s deputy mayor in charge of cultural affairs put it best when he said that it is “a place of interactive multi-sensory experiences, a place of experimentation and exchange, a place accessible to all generations. Without a doubt, a joyful effervescence waits for you there.”
Paris and the arts is an age-old combination, which has never gone out of style. If you’re looking for something a bit more intimate than a 100,000 square foot arts centre stay with the charming Hotel des Académies et des Arts, as chosen by White Line Hotels. Might we suggest the 2-night French Cuisine offer they have at the moment? Included is dinner for two at the newly Michelin Guide selected Le Timbre.
Check the programme and the pretty fantastic gift shop: www.gaite-lyrique.net
Contributing writer: Alicia Reuter
Budapest’s flourishing cultural scene has a rapidly growing reputation for innovation and imagination. The city pulses with creative energy and drive. One theatre group in particular is making a name for themselves in the Hungarian capital and throughout Europe.
The Misero Prospero Project is a Budapest based group founded in 2007 by dancer and choreographer Daniela H. Faith along with playwright and stage director Carlos Rodero. Working with theatrical imagery and movement the company blends a number of performance elements in their productions. Faith was born in Mexico and later went on the study dance in New York. She worked with various projects in Mexico and Spain before moving to Hungary. Catalonian Carlos Rodero studied in Barcelona before taking a year to explore Europe, settling in Hungary at the end of 2000. Their goals are to navigate and combine theatrical languages into an entrancing dramaturgy. Read the rest of this entry »