You can download the full version of the Book of Abstracts here: The Ever-expanding Horizons of Theatre_Book of Abstracts_2021
As I am writing these words, nobody, including myself, cannot reliably say in what manner our meeting – the 10th international conference organized by JAMU – will be allowed to take place. Under favourable conditions, which would otherwise be considered normal, artists and scholars from three continents will meet in Brno in November 2021. It is highly likely now that some of us will not be able to arrive from all the faraway places due to the continuing pandemic. Hopefully, these will be exceptions. Though, maybe, most of us will be listening and speaking over the internet.
Many of the contributions which are described in this book of abstracts directly address the ways in which Covid-19 began to transform theatre practice and theory. I intentionally say, ‘began to transform’. Although the papers may seem to be reflections of the past, clearly, they also speak directly to our present and may even reflect the future with which we will have to deal, whether we want to or not. The experience and thoughts which will be presented at the conference may in time prove to be the seeds of the next phase of the theatre, an important beginning of many new paths. The wealth of new paths is, after all, what every crisis brings. We can feel enthusiastic about this revelation. This is where one of the strongest sources of impulse for the relentless expansion of the horizons of the theatre resides.
The abstracts collected in this book resemble a box of essential oils. In them, we, the contributors, are trying to summarize in a very compact form the cores of our findings. The scent of essential oil is often sharp and requires space. To impress, it must spread, be perceived from a distance and over time. Just as a very quick show of such oils may become unpleasantly intensive for our senses, the perusal of these pages may soon exhaust the reader. To let concentrated thoughts ring, questions need to be asked and discussions need to be held.
Our three-day meeting needs to be held. Most of us know from our previous experience how unlike one another face-to-face and virtual meetings can be. Fortunately, both options can provide the desired space to let this book of essences ring. Virtual meetings can be very purposeful and focused; however, they lack in the surprising, the unexpected and the unplanned (if we disregard technical difficulties and drops in wi-fi signal). Face-to-face meetings often bear fruit in unexpected places, though it is easy to be carried away and captivated by the form and personal charisma rather than the content. Whether you, dear reader, are participating in this meeting physically or indirectly with the help of technology, I hope (and the entire organizing team along with me) that you will find your way toward the wealth of new paths, which will be opening for us in these few days.
Conference Programme Chair
In my (performative) presentation I will discuss spectator-oriented performance. It is an umbrella concept which I use in my own artistic work and teaching for all kinds of immersive, participatory, relational, and ritual performance, which tend to use the spectator as the main focus and orientation point of the performance. It includes performances for only one spectator, spectator meeting spectator performances, and, in general, performances that tend to involve the spectators’ bodies/minds in different ways. Frequently, no performers are involved at all, so, understandably, the emphasis is squarely placed on the changes in the consciousness of the spectators. This genre has grown rapidly since the turn of the millennium and is increasingly popular nowadays. It is thus one of the main directions in which the ever-expanding horizons of the theatre are growing at present. In my presentation, I will first provide a brief general introduction to the concept and the genre of spectator-oriented performance. Specifically, I will explain what it is and how it tends to work. Then, using several examples, audio-visual material and performative tasks for the audience, I will try to illustrate some of the key approaches used nowadays in spectator-oriented performances, such as interaction, participation, reframing, senses, immersion, experience, consciousness, encounter, intimacy, isolation, ritual, disposition, game, and utopia. The performative tasks for the audience will be simple, voluntary and should not involve any discomfort. In the end, I will also discuss the obvious aspects of danger and the necessary safety structures involved in these performances.
Eero-Tapio Vuori is a theatre director, spectator-oriented performance creator and ritual artist. He has directed plays in the classical, contemporary, and experimental theatre scene in Finland and abroad. He is the founder of Reality Research Centre (2001), a Helsinki-based group of independent artists that share an aspiration to observe, question, and renew reality by creating interactive, participatory, immersive, relational, and ritualistic performances. Vuori’s latest work in Finland has been an adaptation of Stanislaw Lem’s Solaris, a single-spectator performance in a sensory deprivation tank (Kellumo, Helsinki 2020). He also regularly works with the Danish performance group helloearth! with whom he most recently co-operated in a night-in-the-hammock performance called A Night in the Trees (Liselund, Denmark, August 2021). Vuori has also done extensive research of indigenous ritual practices in Africa, Asia, South America, and Siberia. He was essential to the opening of the theatre department at the University of Eduardo Mondlane (Maputo, Mozambique). Vuori is currently a senior lecturer of directing at the Theatre Academy, University of the Arts, Helsinki, Finland. His main academic interests are (1) spectator-oriented strategies of performance, (2) interflow of art and consciousness, (3) ritual theatre and performance.