On ecoscenography and postscenography.
As we atempt to make design sustainable, we must keep in mind that we do not live in a sustainable era and therefore we may need to go back and undo a part of the damage we’ve already done to environment.
In some way, this wishful claim to be more than sustainable, within our design practice, also attempts to be proactive, generating something that works for both our planet and our health.
So it’s not just about making ecological decisions on our projects, such as choosing the right materials, sourcing local produce, keeping energy consumption to a minimum; but also thinking about what happens to our projects after the preliminary stage.
On one side, we have surplus material that can be reused on future projects or hired materials that can go back to the caves. Similarly some costumes can be reused on other producHons or simply stay as common life street wear pieces.
On the other hand, we also have specialised material that’s built exclusively for a project and may remain dormant, in the corner of a cave, and kept for a “just in case” production. Here is where, as environment friendly designers, our responsibility lies.
Scenic arts projects have an ephemeral lifespan by nature, and therefore scenography, in order to respond to its aim, has to be ephemeral too. This presents the possibility that the scenery must die with the purposed action (maybe not immediately following the premier but after a prudent period of time when the project becomes exhausted).
So, it’s not about physically destroying the scenery but instead repurposing it to create other objects. This allows us to capture the essence of the scenery whilst creating a new, different object, the same way brides transform their wedding dress into a party dress.
In the case of operas or large scene productions, where there’s a lot of wasted material at the end of its primary life, we could try to make a postscenography project following on from the main scenography one.
The postscenography project, to be coherent, would have to run on the same dramatical concept as the main scenography project, encapsulating the soul of the original production, giving the new user an insight into the initial objective.
The design must be of a standard to give reason for the production of new products, as a souvenir of the scenography, as well as being both useful and interesting for new users to choose it amongst other options.
And, as we are talking about this, it has to be ecologically friendly, so the principles of the “cradle to cradle” viewpoint are the main reason for creating the new object.
In conclusion, as scenographers we must incorporate the ‘waste’ issue within our scenography projects. This includes waste that cannot be recycled or that could be ‘reborn’ in the form of a new object.
Though this adds more work to a scenographers already complex task, it does add value to the project, creating a byproduct with material that has already been acquired and worked with.
This also means that we can propose the byproduct as something that can be sold along with that of the original project, or gived to the support of the project for future use.
I think this is a proposal that needs considering, and could result in another branch to add to our profession.