Making Worlds: Scenography as Pluriversal Design 

Praxisfeld BN: Theoriemodul
Praxisfeld DR, SC, RE, TP: Wahlmodul

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Nummer und TypMTH-MTH-PM-02.22F.015 / Moduldurchführung
ModulPraxisfeld 02 ECTS 
VeranstalterDepartement Darstellende Künste und Film
LeitungBirgit Wiens
Anzahl Teilnehmende5 - 15
ECTS2 Credits
VoraussetzungenMA Theater
Lernziele / KompetenzenThe participants will obtain an overview of the current debate in Performance Design & Scenography Studies - with special focus on a. digital scenography / hybrid spaces, b. eco-scenography, c. shared spaces / social dimensions of scenography, participatory design. Methods of research, working with scientific literature, as well as analytical thinking and one's own (linguistic) expression will also be trained. Moreover, the participants will be invited to reflect on their own artistic practice in the context of the theoretical discourse that has been developed.
InhalteContemporary scenography appears – in and beyond the theatre – in many guises: the spectrum ranges from stage sets, performance design and ‘environmental scenography’ through exhibition design, film and media scenography to urban design and staged commercial events. Starting from this observation, the seminar discusses scenography as an interdisciplinary arts phenomenon: In its diversity of forms, it emerges primarily not as a visual art but rather as a spatial art, in which media, objects and scenographic constel-lations do not figure as a backdrop or décor, rather they are actors and ‘non-human agents’ (Latour) within performative processes. It is in this way that scenographic practices shape our spatial experience and perception. With regard to this, since around the millennium a very lively debate commenced, especially in the anglophone theatre & performance studies. Numerous publications appeared, discussing the remarkably diverse object described as ‘contemporary scenography’ (cf. Howard [2002] 2019, McKinney/ Palmer 2017, Hann 2019, Aronson 2019, Wiens [2019] 2021). The seminar will provide an introduction into this research discussion.
In more recent debates, three major trends can be seen: a. an increased 'digitalision thrust' that theatre makers, scenographers, and audiences are experiencing under the current (post-)pandemic conditions: Experimenting with digital performance, virtual spaces, gaming, AI, and remote interaction, with VR, AR, and XR, performances in 'extended co-presence space' (dislocated, but connected via media in real time), or with immersive installations located in real space. These experiments offer, again, opportu-nities to rethink space – not as a 'replacement’, but as an extension of hitherto customary spatial formations of theatre (historically seen, they are not without precursors, cf. Wiens 2014, O'Dwyer 2021). b. Another aspect, different but related, concerns the 'ecology of the arts' and the ‘ecological footprint’ that scenography causes with material and re-source consumption as well as the amount of travelling and domestic and/or internatio-nal touring that occurs with each theatre and performance piece. (cf. Handley 2021, Beer 2022). c. The third aspect is based on the thesis that perhaps the proper core task of scenography, as an art, is to actually design 'shared spaces’, which always include both aesthetic and social dimensions (Lotker 2015); this is now linked quite strongly with the questions regarding diversity, participation, democratic participation, and decolonising perspectives on European theatre in its relationship to and with other cultures. After a general introduction into the current debate, the seminar will esp. focus on these aspects.
Bibliographie / Literatur• Aronson, A., ed.: The Routledge Companion to Scenography. London, N.Y. 2018,
• Beer, T. Ecoscenography. London, N.Y.: 2022,
• Dixon, S.: Digital Performance. A History of New Media in Theater, Dance, Performance Art and Installation. Cambridge, Mass., London 2007,
• Escobar, A.: Designs for the Pluriverse. Durham, London 2018,
• de Geest, K., Hornbostel, C., Rau, M., eds.: Why Theatre? Berlin 2020,
• Handley, P.: “Staging the Future: The Green Book”, pres. at: “Staging the Future”. Theatre and Scenography Symposium, University of the Arts, London/Wimbledon College of Arts [30032021. Zoom-conference,],
• Hann, R.: Beyond Scenography. London, N.Y. 2019,
• Howard, P., ed.: What is Scenography? [3nd Ed.] London, N.Y. [2002] 2019,
• Latour, B., Aït-Touati, F.: „Decor as Protagonist: On Theatre and the New Climate Regime“, in: Etcetera, January 2019,,
• Lotker, S., Eilers, D.L.: “Der dritte Raum“, in: Theater der Zeit (Sept. 2015), 09/extra/33019/,
• McKinney, J., Palmer, S. eds.: Scenography Expanded. London, N.Y. 2017,
• O’Dwyer, N.: Digital Scenography. 30 Years of Experimentation and Innovation in Performance and Interactive Media. London, N.Y. 2021,
• Pavis, P.: “Scénographie”, in: Dictionnaire du Théâtre [Dictionary of the Theatre] (1980) 4th augm. Ed., ed. P. Pavis, Paris: Armand Collin 2019, 488-492,
• Roussel, S.G. / Centre Pompidou Metz, ed.: Opéra Monde. La Quête d’un Art Total: Opéra at Arts Visuels aux XXe et XXIe Sieclés. [Exhibition Cat.]. Paris, Metz 2019,
• Wiens, B., ed.: Contemporary Scenography: Practices and Aesthetics in German Theatre, Arts and Design. London, N.Y. [2019] 2021,
• Wiens, B.: “Beyond Digital. Über (post-)digitale Bühnen“, in: transformers: digitalität – nachhaltigkeit – inklusion. Ed. M. Lobbes, J. Zellner, J. Zipf. Berlin: TdZ 2021, 100-105,
• Wiens, B.: „Sharing Spaces. The Art of Scenography: Some European Perspectives”, in: Routledge Companion to Contemporary European Theatre and Performance. Ed. A. Mancewicz and R. Remshardt. London, N.Y. 2022 (forthcoming).
TermineKW14 (04.04. - 08.04.2022)
Dauer10:30h - 17:00h
Bewertungsformbestanden / nicht bestanden
BemerkungPD Dr. phil. habil. Birgit Wiens is a researcher and senior lecturer at the LMU Munich, Institute of Theatre Studies. She is a member of the FIRT/IFTR (International Federation for Theatre Research) and has published widely on acting and performance theory, dramaturgy and scenography, including her books Theater ohne Fluchtpunkt/Theatre without Vanishing Points. The Legacy of Adolphe Appia, ed. with G. Brandstetter (2010), Intermediale Scenographie (Intermedial Scenography, 2014) and Contemporary Scenography: Practices and Aesthetics in German Theatre, Arts and Design (ed., 2019, Paperback 2021). Currently, she is preparing a DH research project on German theatre history and scenography in the first half of the 20st century (Zeit-Bilder: Raum- und Bühnenbildentwürfe (1918-1968), im Spannungsfeld deutscher (Theater-)Geschichte und politischer Systemwechsel, with Peter W. Marx, University of Cologne).
Termine (5)