As part of the 14th Taipei Arts Festival, Play Bauhaus, an exhibition on the theater of the Bauhaus, opened yesterday at Songshan Cultural and Creative Park (松山文創園區) and runs through Sept. 9. All activities are free and open to the public.
Commissioned by the arts festival and curated by Torsten Blume from the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation in Germany, the exhibition consists of performances, interactive installation works and video projections that aim to shed light on the Bauhaus ideas about performance space and theatrical performance.
Bauhaus theater was founded in 1921. Under a theater workshop headed by Oskar Schlemmer from 1923, it evolved from the idea that theater should be stripped of narration and experiment with basic stage elements such as abstract movement, line, form, color and light, the festival’s artistic director Ti I-wei (耿一偉) said.
To Blume, the important question was how to rejuvenate old Bauhaus notions and make them relevant to today’s increasingly complex and diverse society.
“The Bauhaus movement is well-known for its influence on architecture and design, but people in Taiwan may not be familiar with Bauhaus as study of theater,” Blume said. “The world in the 1920s was completely different from the world where we live today. Yet we can make further exploration of existing Bauhaus techniques and ideas and investigate humans’ relationship with objects, space and environment in new, different ways.”
At the heart of the exhibition is Play Bauhaus — Jam Out, a dance performance Blume and his team co-developed with Taiwanese dancer and choreographer Chen Yun-ju (陳韻如). The piece involves performers playing in several specially designed stage spaces-cum-installations, and through the dancers’ interaction with the spaces, the ingredients of the play such as gestures, movements and objects are revealed and enhanced, Blume said.
Over the following two weeks, Chen Yun-ju and dancers Chiu Yu-wen (邱鈺雯) and Chen Po-ting (陳柏廷) will perform the piece every Friday and Sunday at 2:30pm and every Saturday at 2:30pm and 4:30pm.
Visitors are also welcome to experiment with the stage spaces as interactive installation works to create their own dances and movements.
The choreographic installation entitled Space Game, for example, invites participants to play amid a web of rubble cables.
“The concept of Bauhaus theater is not easy to grasp. At the festival, we encourage visitors to experience it with their bodies through games and playful interaction,” Ti said.
Meanwhile, history is revisited through several video installations that show important reconstruction and reinterpretation projects inspired by Schlemmer’s dance pieces.
Apart from Play Bauhaus, the annual festival features 12 theatrical performances, many of which are collaborations between local groups and artists from abroad.
Admission and venue vary for each theatrical performance. More information can be founded on the festival’s bilingual site at www.taipeifestival.org.