“All the world is a stage” is no longer a metaphor, but a reality itself. Today we witness a multiplication of staged realities. We are between realities. How do we cope with this complex reality? What strategies do we use? And how do these play out in urban public space?
Within the context of the theatricalisation of every day life, public space can be observed and studied as scenography. The multiplication of staged and imagined realities can be most intensely felt in urban public space where layers of tourism, entertainment, consumption, art, work, leisure, history, policies, and politics come together. It is precisely here where we can see how people live between realities and how they cope with its complexity.
The Dutch project plan "Between Realities" for the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space 2015, distinguishes between five different coping strategies: sheltering, fleeing, fighting, negotiating, surrendering. Each of these strategies/practices entails a particular attitude towards reality. Either a movement away from reality (hide or shelter), an engagement with reality (fight or negotiate) or a plunge in reality (surrender).
With the Dutch contribution to the Space Exhibition I will aim to collaboratively map the strategy of hiding in the public spaces of Prague. What examples of sheltering do we encounter? And how does the scenography of public space either enable or disable this practice? The exploration will take place in Prague from 18th until 26th of June 2015 and the results will be presented on the 27th of June, together with Sigrid Merx (the curator) at the Clam Gallas Palace lecture hall.
The research "Between Realities: collective mapping of public space" will consist of two parts in which different approaches are explored:
Interviewing of locals in AUDIO STORY MAPPING Audio story mapping; every day I interview local inhabitants and ask them to take me to a place in Prague 1 that is associated with sheltering. On location they explain me the unwritten rules or codes that are accompanied with the place or they tell me a story that is related to the place. This conversation is recorded. The readers of the map (listeners in this case) can go to the exact same location to disclose the story for that particular place. In this exhibition space some examples can be heard. For more stories you can download the tracks and listen to them on location by going to the place and this website: performativemapping.net/btwreal/audio
Following of tourists and locals in NAVIGATIONAL OPERATIONS At several moments of the week I will organise mapping sessions in which my aim is to collectively map the dynamic use of the public spaces of Prague 1. Participants are asked to use an application for a mobile phone that is designed for this purpose.
The tool in this app has several brushes, which is the legend of the map. Each brush represents a performer in public space. It is collectively decided upon what performers are mapped in a certain square or street, before the cartographic exploration starts.
The cartographic exploration 'collective mapping of public space' consists of following a public performer. That is, walking behind the person as close as possible with which each cartographer is able to leave a trace of the person on the digital map, a map that is collectively constructed over time.
The longer the cartographer stands still, the thicker the line on the map becomes, allowing the more dynamic aspect of velocity and time to be mapped. While doing this the cartographer makes pictures of moments or spaces of tension (where different realities meet/conflict/ juxtapose). The pictures should be taken in panorama (horizontally)!
This very direct form of mapping will be done in a variety of public spaces and with a number of participants. It will explore the potentials of this method (the mobile phone as ethnographic mapping device, which allows the researcher to stand closer to his/her subject without having the feeling of invading the other persons space). On the other hand will it explore the performative (or even theatrical) aspects of this mapping. The act of following and taking pictures (which is performed by different participants simultaneously) in a confined public space might give the feeling or transform that space into a temporary stage. Understanding public space as a stage and the question who 'the public' is will be explored and discussed.