Ett smultronstället - refers to a geographical location, a physical space, a place you have been at least once. Being present in this physical space elicits a feeling strong enduring and persistent at every visit. It makes you stop. The place where the wild strawberries grow.
I relate this idea of place to the theatrical discourse of Atmosphere. As Gernot Böhme has so accurately described as “the emotional tinge of a space”(1). “they bathe everything in a certain light, unify a diversity of impressions in a single emotive state”(2). There are places and moments in time that stop me, they knock me off my feet and plant me solidly in the now. Why an atmosphere captures me I can currently only describe with the metaphor of an eclipse. Planets and stars orbit in the same environment but attention is captured when they align for a short period of time.
As a Scenographer I feel an urgency to research and create performative atmospheres modelled after the aforementioned stops. As a researcher, the paradox of authentically “stopping” in a place which is codified as theatre interests me.
Can I create authentic atmospheres whilst knowingly appropriating, and transposing them from their original place in space and/or time?
Can an overtly objective experience be performed to elicit the same emotional experience of an audience/spectator?
Is atmosphere performative in and of itself or does timing need to be specifically directed to let it perform?
To tackle these questions I propose to myself a process based research.
A preview of my process can be contained in observing with open senses, documenting, abstracting, and collaborating. Artistically I am drawn to reductionism this is visually by an interest in how abstract light, sound, and motion, can produce an atmosphere. Collaboration also essential for me; I see great value in asking another artist to create - in their own medium - from either my documentation, or abstraction, in a drive to dive deeper into the core of the “tinge of emotion.” One particular quote that strikes me as a method is filmmaker Alex Garland on his adaptation of the book Annihilation (2018). Garland has described it as "an adaptation which was a memory of the book," rather than book-referenced screenwriting, to capture the "dream-like nature" and tone of his reading experience.