It’s always a long time coming, but the Prague Quadrennial is here again. The world’s largest “performance design” event will be taking place all around the Czech capital for the next eleven days, from the streets to the exhibition palaces, covering all kinds of modern dramatic and visual arts and hosting performers from all over the world.
The opening of the last Prague Quadrennial in 2007. This year the organisers expect over 40,000 visitors from home and abroad, “making Prague the centre of the performance world” between June 16th and 26th. The best of world performance, sound, lighting, and costume design will be presented in three competitive sections, focusing on 60 countries, student work, and architecture. For more on what’s new this year I spoke by phone to Daniela Pařízková, the festival’s assistant director, who told me about what’s in store.
“We try to focus on projects that are in between theatre and visual arts, on contemporary performance, and all genres that work with space, with scenography, or that use scenography as an element for their creation.”
Can you tell me about some of the specific events that we might not be able to see anywhere else?
“Sure, there are exhibits that have been created only for Prague. For example on June 21, at Čechův Bridge, which is a very central location in Prague, we will stop all of the traffic and we will create a big, choreographic sculpture of 500 volunteers who will whisper, and thereby take back the public space from the transport and from the politicians. So that is a unique event. And of course the core of the quadrennial is the exhibitions of individual countries and regions., so when you come to Veletržní palace you can see, at one glance, exhibitions from Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Poland - from 62 countries, and every exhibit is completely different. In one you can touch the things, in another you can talk to the authors, in another you can try out new technology. So each one is really different, and it’s like a tour of the world of contemporary theatre and art.”
This only happens every four years, it sounds like something you probably spend about four years putting together as well, is that right?
“Yes almost four years. And at this moment we are finishing everything to be ready for the grand opening in the evening and to open it to the public on the 16th. Yes, it took us four years, and it’s not only us here in the Czech Republic but a lot of teams around the world who were preparing the individual exhibitions, coming here and presenting them to the public, so this is really unique.”
For more on the Prague Quadrennial you can visit their website at pq.cz, where you can also set up your own calendar of events from the very diverse programme.