2011. Old movie theatre with heavy stage curtains in Attnang-Puchheim, Austria; Part of the “Festival der Regionen”
DMX-Controller, Wind machines, spotlights

 

Heavy stage curtains and wind machines stage a thrilling storm.

2011. Old movie theatre with heavy stage curtains in Attnang-Puchheim, Austria; Part of the “Festival der Regionen”. DMX-Controller, Wind machines, speakers, spotlights

 

A theatrical installation in an old cinema: The stage area is brightly lit. However, neither people nor objects are in the spotlight. The stage curtains which are blown into motion by powerful wind machines are the actors. They are blown in all directions by the air flow and follow a staged choreography; at times they billow about wildly and then they swing gently. They twist, pulsate and swirl as if being pulled and pushed together and then apart by invisible forces. The transformation of that which is “sleeping” in a live space is inspired by the idea of the phoenix, the heraldic animal of Attnang-Puchheim, rising anew from the ashes. 

_____________________________________________Air, in the form of wind, acquires energy and speed. Wind brings things to life, sets them in motion. “The Tempest” works with what is already there – red and brown stage curtains in a large cinema or theatre – creates air streams and uses them as ephemeral and fleeting artistic material for a sculpture in process.At first all is quiet. Then the curtains begin to move in an unusual way: at the beginning, a slight swinging and a curtain “dialogue“, a lifting up to the left and to the right, vigorous arrhythmical swelling to the climax and then at the end of the sequence quickly settling still once more. Back-lighting penetrates the surface of the cloth, makes it appear to glow and animates it. In this way the functional stage elements are given a luminous charge – an aura – the curtains seem to be alive, alien and yet familiar and at the same time surreal. The dimensions, which lie in the background beyond what is visible, are thus accentuated.The intervention sets the stage itself in motion and makes the performance situation per se the topic. The material that separates acting from “real” life and guarantees room for illusion surges forth: the curtains seem to emit what they have absorbed over many years from the films and performances. Their agitation seems to reproduce the highs and the lows and the changing emotions found in the dramas and the comedies. The title alludes to one such classical, theatrical situation, by using the title of one of Shakespeare’s dramas in which everything begins with a storm and the sylph, Ariel, causes the stranding of a ship.“The Tempest” takes place in a theatre/cinema hall with a remarkably original 1950’s interior design to which our attention is now directed. Light penetrates under the wafting curtains from the stage, wanders along the rows of seats and shines like a searchlight again and again on empty individual seats in the audience. The whole room is also atmospherically encapsulated by the sound, at times sinister, activated and staged. The audience feels the airflow and hears the whooshing and droning of the fans as well as the noise of the heavy cloth curtains beating against each other. Drawing on the what is felt as a subdued atmosphere in Attnang-Puchheim and its catastrophic destruction at the end of the Second World War, the installation brings a breath of fresh air to the subject, or here: the place. It draws on the history of the town, but is not imperatively bound to it.At the end of the festival everything vanishes, as if it had never been there. No trace of the “storm” remains except an image and the memory of the unfamiliar in a familiar place.