About the Quadriennale

Quebec and Canada at the Prague 2011 Quadrennial

Quebec and Canada at the Prague 2011 Quadrennial

The Association des professionnels des arts de la scène du Québec (APASQ) and the Associated Designers of Canada (ADC) represented Canada at the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Art and Space, June 16 to 26, 2011.

For APASQ and the ADC, making it possible for Quebec and Canadian designers to participate in PQ 2011 was essential.

Thus, 156 students, from 15 Quebec and Canadian schools, participated in the different activities offered. In addition, almost 50 professors and design professionals from Quebec and Canada visited the Quadrennial during the event’s 11 days.

More than 40,000 stage-arts professionals and visitors from 70 countries gathered at this event, the most important international showcase for stage-arts professionals – set, costume, lighting, sound environment, puppet, and other designers – to present their work.

In addition to the section reserved for professional set designers, PQ 2011 offers a section for theatre schools and another devoted to theatre architecture. A number of activities, including seminars, workshops, and meetings with renowned theatre-design practitioners, make this event an important opportunity to gain an understanding of the evolution of theatre design throughout the world.

For more information on all of the events and the participating countries: http://www.pq.cz/en/en-rm-page.html

To see photographs: http://www.pq.cz/en/photogallery.html

The Quebec and Canadian presence at PQ 011: a summary

Competition of national and regional exhibitions presented at the Palais Veletrzni (National Gallery)

The Canada booth contained exhibitions of the work of François Barbeau and Cameron Porteous, presentations of the Castelet électronique and ARBO CYBER, théâtre, (?) and an architecture section with a diaporama from the book Architectures du spectacle au Québec, edited by Jacques Plante. Six discussion forums took place in the booth.

Student section, at the Palais Veletrzni (National Gallery)

The booth contained a diaporama of almost 400 images supplied by the 15 Canadian schools represented at Prague, including 7 models from the Scorched project. Representatives from the schools also invited participants at the Quadrennial to 9 meetings on subjects of interest.

Architecture Section presented at the Santa Church

  • L’Opéra-palette by Jacques Plante

On Saturday, June 18, Jacques Plante gave a presentation on the design process for his project, the goal of which was to create an ephemeral outdoor installation at the Maison de la ville de Québec for the first international opera festival, which took place in July 2011. This interdisciplinary project involved the participation of architects, engineers, set designers, sound and image technicians, and theatre designers. The presentation included a model, photographs, 3D images, and videos.

At the 8th OISTAT THEATRE ARCHITECTURE COMPETITION (TAC) 2011, Marie-Pier Dubreuil and Joannie Brouillard, of the School of Architecture at Université Laval, supervised by Jacques Plante, architect and professor, tied for the 4th place prize. The competition had 186 participants from 44 countries.

Finally, a young Quebec designer, Annick Lavallée-Benny, received, jointly with the Swedish designer Jakob Oredsson, a gold medal honouring the most promising talent in the student section, for their project “Erase the play,” presented by Norway.

Annick Lavallée Benny and Jakob Oredsson are graduates in set design from the Norwegian Theatre Academy.


Activities presented in the Canada booth

Thursday, June 16

  • The Castelet électronique Project: Past and Future Challenges for an Encounter between Art and Science
    Robert Faguy, professor in the Literatures Department and director of LANTISS, Université Laval, Québec

The electronic castelet (literally, puppet theatre) is a project involving a reduced-scale (10:1) mobile stage developed by the Laboratoire des nouvelles technologies de l’image, du son et de la scène (LANTISS) at Université Laval in Quebec City. The laboratory’s mandate is to support research and research-creation projects associated with theatre arts. In his presentation, Faguy reviewed the various components of the project that have been achieved since 2004. More than twenty researchers and students from the robotics laboratory (robotized stage floor and controls), vision and digital systems laboratories (software designer, virtual castelet for teleworking), and the optics and photonics centre (miniaturized lighting) worked on producing the electronic castelet. A number of examples of how this instrumented model of a mobile stage is used gave an idea of the creative and pedagogical potential of the tool, which is used to simulate directing and evolutionary set-design projects. The presentation also addressed future development of the castelet in the direction of creation of a full-scale prototype or software for playwriting. (http://www.lantiss.ulaval.ca)

Saturday, June 18

  • Le numérique comme support de mémoire d’un théâtre de la complexité : le cas de la pierre tombale ludique de la troupe ARBO CYBER, théâtre (?)
    Lucie Fradet and Robert Faguy, professor at the Literatures Department and director of LANTISS, Université Laval, Québec

The objective of this presentation was to share the issues related to the archiving of complex stage shows. Using examples from the Web site of the ARBO CYBER, théâtre (?) company, the presenters discussed various archiving strategies that concern the digital storage of stage sets or dynamic forms of multimedia writing and the contextualization of audiovisual documents.

Video is a particularly effective tool for archiving performances in a frontal space, but the linear nature of the medium can make it difficult to record productions performed on separate stages simultaneously. It is similar for stage sets that offer an intense sensorial experience or an interaction between the stage and the hall that allows each audience member to re-create his or her own show. Thanks to digital archiving technologies, it is now possible to re-create interactive interfaces in order to preserve the communication objectives of these complex and ephemeral theatrical moments.

Founded in Quebec City in 1985, ARBO CYBER, théâtre (?) had produced more than twenty creations by 2001. In general, the group pursued research that applied to each element of theatre practice in a multidisciplinary perspective. Each project included the use of other art forms, some of them technological, placed in a relationship of immediacy with viewers. By working in a performative aesthetic, ARBO CYBER, théâtre (?) proposed to update the relationship with viewers by having them take an active part in the theatrical spectacle. Since 2001, the group has taken on the mission of leaving a tangible trace of the various experiments conducted over the years by recording and reconstructing its interactive spirit in a digital interface called Pierre tombale ludique (Playful Tombstone). This commemorative Web site will be launched officially in late 2011, marking the tenth anniversary of the end of the company’s set-design activities. www.arbocyber.lit.ulaval.ca

Sunday, June 19

  • Searching for the Truth in the Haystack of Theatre Design
    Cameron Porteous, Scenographer – Set and Costume Designer

In an age in which we are constantly being bombarded with information and images, much creeping into our lives through the computer (Internet), how does one separate fact from fiction in the search for the truth, and are any of those facts relevant when it comes to designing a production. How do we rid ourselves of preconceptions and outside influences when we are bombarded with images from books, films, and television? How do we separate outside influences in the original thought process, or is this even possible in the wired age in which we live?

Monday, June 20, and Saturday, June 25

  • Working as a Mentor for the Stage
    Tanit Mendes, curator of the exhibition “Cameron Porteous” and co-director, Production Program, Ryerson Theatre School, Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario

Associated Designers of Canada paid tribute to Cameron Porteous, a practising scenographer for more than 40 years. His extensive body of work includes set and costume designs for theatre, film, and television.  He has worked in most major theatres across Canada, and his film work has taken him to Moravia, Vienna, Florence, and Prague. Porteous has mentored and taught throughout his career and influenced many scenographers in Canada today.

I first met Cameron over 20 years ago at the Shaw Festival. I was working on running crew at the Court House theatre for a show he was designing. I was fascinated by the design process and eventually became an assistant to Cameron. He was always honest but very kind. I found out about my shortcomings, but I felt like they could be overcome. He taught me the importance of experimentation and exploration, the fundamental tools of the scenographer. With these tools we open windows into other worlds in a search for truth.

Tuesday, June 21

  • François Barbeau: A Colossal Body of Work
    Suzane O’Neill, photographer and responsible for design, storyboarding, and production of the video diaporama presented in the François Barbeau exhibition

APASQ paid tribute to François Barbeau, the great Quebec costume designer, who has been designing costumes for film, opera, circus, and, above all, theatre in Canada for more than 50 years. He is the pioneer of costume design in Quebec and Canada, and an icon for the successive generations whom he has taught in theatre schools.

The photographer Suzane O’Neill has extensively documented Barbeau’s work. Many of her photographs will be presented in the exhibition to highlight his important, exemplary research on the transformation of textiles, tracing the details and showing the artist in reflection. These images illustrate all steps of the creative process, from sketch to costume worn by the actor.

François Barbeau has never hesitated to use unconventional materials and techniques such as macramé, mosquito netting, paper, recycled materials, and everyday objects. Like an alchemist, he makes old costumes out of new materials and sumptuous garments out of bargain fabric, always keeping in mind that the costumes must last for many performances. For example, the costumes that he created for Cirque du Soleil’s shows Dralion and Wintuk held up for hundreds of performances.

Wednesday, June 22

  • A New Dramaturgy of Light: Stage Lighting with Video Projectors
    Keven Dubois, master’s student in theatre and cinema arts, LANTISS (Université Laval)

The recent development of new video-projection technologies is giving signs of leading to a revolution in the trade of lighting designer. With the intensity of the video lamp supplanting that of traditional stage lights, the design of stage lighting can now take into account the temporal question to create dynamic lighting sequences for objects and spaces. Fragmentation of the space, mobile lights from a single light source, chromatic variations, and the use of fixed or moving textures are just some examples of the potential for staging related to these new paradigms for stage lighting. Using archived documents from preceding laboratories, Dubois showed concrete simulations of video lighting on a small scale presented within the Castelet électronique, a fully operation model of a mobile stage (scale 10:1). (http://vimeo.com/19145016)