More about the EMERGENCE project​​

Imagine, for instance, a deteriorating building. It’s no mere pile of once thoughtfully stacked bricks.  The building bears witness to a bygone time and has even watched trials and tragedies of human fate unfold. If it could speak, it would tell of heroes and injustice. The stories, many of which we’ve never even heard, are slowly being forgotten. Emergence, a project that is the mouth, eyes, and hands of primarily European places with unique destinies, was established to change that. 

 

EMERGENCE. From shared experience to new creativity. Living Heritage/Reframing Memory is a multiyear project (2018–2020) intending to uncover history through spaces and scenographic media. The foundation comprises the memories and stories of places with troubled or forgotten pasts and histories subjected to various interpretation. After intuitive perception and exploration with all the senses, these stories are given an onsite scenographic treatment, producing a unique and powerful experience that awakens the emotions. The experiences are presented to the greater public through live performances, testimonies, photographs, and other materials and activities.  

 

From a social standpoint, the project aims to arouse curiosity, discover and explore places and situations, overcome ingrained notions, prejudices, and knowledge and relive the emotions within the stories. Of considerable value to participants and visitors from the scientific community are confrontations with artists, presentations of their work, educational activities, and the establishment of new professional contacts throughout Europe. In light of the project’s international character, foreign policy and collaboration with foreign institutions also play an important role. 

 

The scenography is inseparably bound to the environment in which the individual performances and workshops take place. At the same time, it gives rise not only to tangible objects but to actual people. The genius loci and historical facticity of the locations influence human behaviour and vice versa. A human story might be bound to a vanished building and serve as the basis of a theatre performance. A military conflict might be depicted in the movements of the human body rendered through dance. The Emergence project contemplates the collective memory of places that ignite powerful experiences and display our historical heritage as an evolving process of constant negotiation and interconnection in today’s globalized world. At the same time, it works meaningfully with the sociopolitical background to provide space for the problems various countries are going through.  

 

The project encompasses workshops, seminars, site-specific performances, and exhibitions. Activities are purposely designed to connect young artists with experienced professionals while simultaneously generating an environment for beginning artists. Additionally, scientists, theoreticians, architects, sociologists, and curators also participate in the project.  

 

The Emergence project partners with organizations throughout Europe (and reaching as far as Asia). In choosing them, particular consideration was given to their resonating political backgrounds as well as to their ability to bring new ideas and added value to the project. In the end, it was the following organizations that joined forces: 

 

Arts and Theatre Institute / Prague Quadrennial (Czech Republic)

Victoria & Albert Museum (Great Britain) 

IZOLYATSIA (Ukraine)

The Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute (Poland) 

Cyprus Theatre Organisation THOC (Cyprus)

Norwegian Theatre Academy/Østfold University College (Norway) 

New Theatre Institute of Latvia 

National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts Taiwan

 

The backbone of the Emergence project is Prague Quadrennial, an international festival organized by the Arts and Theatre Institute that explores the field of scenography in its entirety, from the performing arts, costumes, and lighting and sound design to new scenographic methods. In addition to its primary endeavour – preparation of the festival – Prague Quadrennial also organizes international projects and activities. Performances, exhibitions, and installations in galleries and public spaces, symposia, workshops, residences, and educational initiatives serve as international platforms for examining the practices, theories, and training in contemporary scenography in the broadest sense of the word.  

 

The Emergence project obtained a grant from the Creative Europe Programme, which supports Europe’s cultural and creative sectors. Prague Quadrennial is the only Czech organization to receive financial support to this extent.