The scenographic (re-)turn: figures of surface, space and spectator in theatre and architecture theory 1680–1980

Thea Brejzek
2015 Theatre & Performance Design  
Three cultural 'crises', namely the 17 th century debate regarding the ontology of time and space, the passage into modernity in the early 20 th century, and the rise of postmodernism in the late 20 th century, are portrayed here as 'shifts' in the spatial theories and practices of theatre and architecture. Each shift necessarily evokes the question all over again as to how meaning is attributed and negotiated in the design of space. G.W. Leibniz's theoretical spatial model of the universe as
more » ... f the universe as much as Max Herrmann's notion of theatrical space, Adolf Loos' modernist struggle against the ornament and Robert Venturi's embracing of the 'hybrid and impure' elements of architecture have shown that the centre of theatre and architecture practice rests upon the negotiation between the spectator's perspectival viewing of the object or performance and its distinct spatial condition of both surface and volume. This paper is concerned with the origin, the metaphor and rhetoric of the 'scenographic' in a specific time period (1680-1980) and focuses on what might be called several 'crises' in the thinking about architectural and theatrical space. The theater, in which the architecture serves as a possible background, a setting, a building that can be calculated and transformed into the measurements and concrete materials of an often elusive feeling, has been one of my passions. --Aldo Rossi 1979 1 Since the first cultural 'turn' and with the subsequent establishment of cultural studies from the late 1950s onwards, every subsequent 'turn' has questioned existing methodologies and opened up new and formerly marginalised fields of research. The 1
doi:10.1080/23322551.2015.1027522 fatcat:idndr7uwkndvnn3h7lftrjwxwy