Summer 2013 will see the completion of the Asterion development process. What will happen once it is complete? Will it be taken on by someone to be run as a public or invited theatrical spectacle? Or will it be left for the forest to reclaim?
Either way, this summer will see the development of the labyrinth as a performance event. Our team will be spending the summer camping on site and every weekend through June and July, a small number of people will join us to see how Asterion works. If you wish to be part of this process, you can sign up to attend one of these workshops
The tetrad of Arcana structure with protective membrane in place
Of the significant accomplishments this summer, the most intensive was the earth bag structure created to house The Tetrad of Arcana, four events situated in an underground cavern.
The tetrad of Arcana structure buried and ready to plant
The methodology of the build was based on a variety of incomplete sources so a great deal of experimentation was involved resulting in a significant amount of knowledge gained which will be published to be applied to the existing body of information about this construction technique. Once the upper section was framed and a plywood roof with skylights put in place, the entire structure was covered with a membrane prior to being backfilled and covered.
A room in the underground tetrad of Arcana
The skylights are positioned to illuminate the sculptural installations that will be placed in each room. The structures to the left of the tetrad are the water tower and shower for the onsite crew.
Wall painting in the corridor of the dead
The collaboration with multidisciplinary artists has begun and many spaces are well on their way to completion. The Palace of Mythical Beings is being undertaken by sculptor Reinhart Reitzenstein as a “cabinet of curiosities”.
The sculptural installation known as the Gallery of the Deceived is well underway.
A hall of mirrors has been completed and the room for the introduction of Thetis who will provide an expository performance has been built and is awaiting the realization in three dimensions of a number of “Ectocretan” panels designed by R. Murray Schafer. Musician and visual artist Jesse Stewart is making plans for a giant Mandala.
Jenny prepares a garden next to the kitchen tent.
The gardens are going to be spectacular. Sarah is our main garden genius and has prepared and planted several different spaces. Here Jenny is working on a veggie garden for our kitchen.
Angela has taken on the “Tetrad of Arcana” including designing and supervising a structure to house the series of four events.
After consulting with our onsite crew, it was agreed that we would create an earthbag structure of four small theatres surrounding a central square room. Partially underground, most of the structure has now been established thanks to much hard physical labour from all. Our thanks to Battlefield Cat Rental for the use of a backhoe to complete the excavation.
Along with invaluable assistance with installing solar panels and ventilation ducts on the steel shed, Chris has taken on “Shadow“, an event involving the creation of a room with interactive projections and shadows of all sorts.
Newfoundland artist Michael Waterman and Peterborough artist Brion Wagner have taken on “Daedalus’ Workshop“, an installation consisting of a room full of wonderful objects, artifacts and machines that are set in motion by the entrance of the spectator.
Progress is being made on a number of events. The curved cedar path at the beginning is almost complete. Helim, the corridor of the dead, is mostly finished.It is apparent in this study that we must complete the structures/installations in order to accurately appraise the effectiveness and appropriateness of each events. Dark sections must be actually dark and the section must be workshopped.
Trompe l’oeil effects and forced perspective will be explored with the new proxemics of an interactive and ambulatory spectator. Does the illusion of for example Teatro Olympico still work for those observing from the stage itself. Can a low relief and painted surround be made to work as the participating spectator walks around it. When our “spect-actor” causes an event to be set in motion by entering the space, are they aware and if so, does this detract from or enhance the experience.
These are a few of the small questions within the overall study that is Asterion that we will begin to address this summer.
Asterion is a complex series of theatrical events in the form of a labyrinth. First and foremost, it is an experience, a journey of individual self-discovery that transcends the boundaries of conventional theatre and challenges the expectations of the traveler.
The story is told not only with words but also with images, sounds, tastes, touches and textures. Asterion is a multi-disciplinary artistic endeavour, incorporating the contributions of gardeners and landscape architects, builders, and sculptors; artists of all kinds working together to create unique environments within the labyrinth. It is part museum, part fairground, part gallery and part concert. It is part fun house and part game, part quest and part contemplation. It isdesigned as a transformative journey to be experienced by one person at a time. As the participant moves through the labyrinth, her experience will be shaped by encounters with actors and by an active engagement with the surroundings. As the lines between spectator and performer become blurred the individual begins to shape her own experience of the labyrinth. Continue reading →