Decoration of Performance Space: Meaning and Ideology

Thirteenth symposium of the ICTM Study Group on Iconography of the Performing Arts,
organized by the Centro studi per la ricerca documentale sul teatro e il melodramma europeo Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice

Venice, 17–20 May 2016

Thinking of music performance, we usually consider the action happening on the theater or concert stage, in front of spectators. However, performance space surrounding the spectators, its interior and exterior architectural decoration, as well as fashion of spectators and their habits are also constituent elements of a performance, supplementing the experience of a live event. Decoration elements, such as mythological compositions painted on theater ceilings, state insignia placed above the proscenium, or portraits of distinguished playwrights, composers or performers on theatre facades reflect the attitudes of past times and ideologies of political powers patronizing performances; sculptures accumulated over the time in theaters’ foyers visually represent historical memory of the space becoming (national) shrines to performing arts. Theaters and other performance spaces are architectural artworks, often representing the pinnacle in artistic careers of their architects and interior designers, frequently appropriating the status of urban iconic symbols.

The conference will focus on visual programs and decorations of spaces in which musical performances occur and the self-representation of audiences attending performances. All types of performance venues and performances which include music should be considered, including concerts and music theatre, religious ceremonies, contemporary popular music events, urban spectacles, pageantries and parades. Proposals are invited concerning:

  • Architectural interior and exterior decorations of performance spaces
  • Reflections of political power presented in theatrical performances
  • Ideological context of religious rituals and their spaces
  • Political power demonstrated in public spectacles and parades
  • Theater and concert hall architecture
  • Spectators and audiences (habits, fashion, hair-styling, behavior)
  • Interpretation and issues concerning opera staging and scenography in general

English is preferred language for the conference presentations.
Abstracts of 200–300 words may be submitted before 15 February 2016 to:

Zdravko Blažeković
Research Center for Music Iconography
City University of New York, The Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016-4309
zblazekovic@gc.cuny.edu

and

Maria Ida Biggi
Centro studi per la ricerca documentale sul teatro e il melodramma europeo
Fondazione Giorgio Cini
Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice
mariaida.biggi@cini.it

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