Tanja Beer: An introduction to ecoscenography: the paradigm and practice of ecological design in the performing arts

Aalto Universty, Helsinki

Link to video recording (click here)

Contemporary ecological concerns bring with them an opportunity for innovation; to rethink traditional theatre practices and forge ecologically inspired approaches that push intellectual and creative boundaries. This lecture introduces the concept of ‘ecoscenography’, a practice I define as the integration of ecological thinking into all stages of scenographic production and aesthetics. The concept differs from more conventional approaches to sustainability that strive primarily to minimise ecological impacts rather than to activate new social, cultural, and environmental potentialities. Instead of limiting resources in response to concerns about sustainability, ecoscenography considers how ecological and artistic integrity can be a fundamental part of the scenographer’s very ideas, processes, and aesthetics. Using examples from my own practice-based research, I examine the potential for ecoscenography to lead to new modes of practice in the performing arts where expanded ideas of material entanglement – across bodies, ecosystems and built environments – are central to sustainability in performance design.


Speaker:  Tanja Beer
From Melbourne School of Design, University Of Melbourne
Discipline and position: Scenographer & Academic Fellow in Performance Design & Sustainability

Short bio:
Dr Tanja Beer (Academic Fellow in Performance Design and Sustainability, University of Melbourne) is a leading ecoscenographer and community artist. She has more than 15 years’ professional experience – including creating numerous designs and public installations for organisations in Australia (Sydney Opera House, Federation Square, Melbourne International Festival) and oversees (Tokyo, Vienna, London, New York, Cardiff, Glasgow). Tanja’s most significant work is The Living Stage, a global initiative that combines stage design, horticulture and community engagement to create recyclable, biodegradable, edible and biodiverse performance spaces. Her current practice is focused on the potential for event spaces to foster place-making and urban resilience within the field of expanded scenography. See: www.tanjabeer.com| https://ecoscenography.com