'Cricoterie': Tadeusz Kantor Meets Virtual Reality
default, 'Cricoterie': Tadeusz Kantor
Meets Virtual Reality, A screenshot from the programme created by Tale of Tales, photo: press materials, center, A screenshot of the VR piece being prepared by Tale of Tales, photo: promo materials
The artistic collective Tale of Tales (Auriea Harvey & Michaël Samyn) has created an interactive project which, using virtual reality technology, draws on the heritage of one the greatest artists of Polish theatre, Tadeusz Kantor. Cricoterie brings Kantor’s stage to the modern audience member, combining state-of-the-art solutions from the worlds of culture and digital entertainment. It premiered on 22nd September 2018 in Warsaw.
The Adam Mickiewicz Institute and the Tadeusz Kantor Foundation present the newest project from Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn of the Tale of Tales artistic collective. Cricoterie is an interactive project, using VR technology, that draws on the heritage of one of the greatest artists of Polish theatre, combining state-of-the-art solutions from the worlds of culture and digital entertainment.
As a work, Cricoterie is a VR programme exploring the characteristics of this artistic medium and its status in the context of other fields of art. The project emerged as a result of a study visit to Poland by Tale of Tales, during which the artists became fascinated with the heritage of the legend of Polish avant-garde theatre. Next, they spent a month in a residency at the Tadeusz Kantor and Maria Stangret artists’ house in Hucisko, where they worked intensively on developing the programme.
Become a Theatre Master in VR: An Interview with Tale of Tales
Cricoterie, however, should not be considered an homage to Kantor. Theatre, in particular Kantor’s theatre – with the use of mannequins, as well as the presence on the stage of the author/director himself, intervening in the show – corresponded ideally with the field of VR, which the artists were exploring. The problem of the status of objects in the VR space turned out to be very inspiring for the development of this project.
This is how Harvey and Samyn describe Cricoterie:
I Shall Never Return: Exclusive On-Set Footage from the Kantor Biopic [video]
In cyberspace, everything is dead. None of the things created using a computer are alive. Some of them are three-dimensional, like us. Others breathe, like us. They look very real. Not like the people or objects that fill our tangible universe. Not like ideas, concepts, feelings or fantasies. Not even like far-off planets and stars, barely visible out there somewhere. They're present here and they're real, though they exist in a reality that we can only visit, but never really inhabit.
It’s precisely this kind of sentiment that drew us to the theatre of Tadeusz Kantor. On the Cricot 2 stage, all objects were equal. Blackboard, equipment, actor, mannequin. All were elements of the image that was created by the director, constantly present on the stage: Tadeusz Kantor. His art resembled research, the exploration of memories, images, collective and individual symbols. An experiment consisting in collecting things in a single place, to see what would happen. What happens in the middle of this experience.
The programme 'Cricoterie' was created under the influence of inspiration by Kantor. But it’s not a reconstruction, a documentary or a tribute. We shamelessly ripped off his art, to create our own.
During the premiere of the programme at the Studio Theatre in Warsaw on 22nd September 2018 at 11:00 AM, audiences experienced the project and took part in a conversation with the artists, Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn. There was also a discussion on the remix of heritage and the use of technology in the theatre, with the participation of Magda Szpecht, Dawid Mlekicki and Sandra Frydrysiak.
The creators of Cricoterie also took part in the second edition of the Digital Cultures conference on 24th and 25th September at the Iluzjon Cinema in Warsaw.
Artists: Auriea Harvey, Michaël Samyn
Production: Tale of Tales
Co-production: Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Flanders Audiovisual Fund
Music: Gerry De Mol
Partner: Tadeusz Kantor Foundation
Coordination and production: Anna Szylar, Antoni Burzyński, Michał Rogulski
Photographs of Tadeusz Kantor: Jerzy Borowski
Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn met over the Internet, back when that still meant something (in 1999). They designed websites and created net art under the label Entropy8Zuper!, and in 2000, they were awarded the SFMOMA Webby Award. For more than 10 years, they worked in independent video game production, operating the studio Tale of Tales. A few years back, they gave up the world of video games in order to discover new dimensions of the artistic potential of computer technology as Song of Songs. Their works can be found in numerous collections, such as the San Francisco MoMA, M HKA Antwerpen, the Shannah Collage of Art and Design and the Triennale di Milano. They live and work in Ghent, Belgium.
Find out more:
5 Reasons Kantor Was the Polish Artist of the Century
contemporary polish theatre
The project is organised by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute operating under the Culture.pl brand as part of POLSKA 100, the international cultural programme accompanying the centenary of Poland regaining independence.
Financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland as part of the multi-annual programme NIEPODLEGŁA 2017-2021.
Source: press materials, compiled by ZŁO & NR, Sep 2018