December 2014

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December 2014

News & Notices

E-Scape to Brazil

Rob Eastman Mullins
International Liaison, SD&T Commission
US Delegate for Performance Design, OISTAT

Just as the heat of the summer was getting oppressive, OISTAT (the International Organization of Scenographers, Theatre Architects and Technicians) offered a bit of respite. With the aid of Brazilian theatre artists, artisans, and students, OISTAT hosted E•Scapes: the Education, Performance Design, & Research Conference in São Paulo, Brazil, August 10 to 15.

That's winter in South America and the mild weather was a welcoming backdrop to presentations, performances, and conference meetings.

Brazilian performance group OSMOS welcomed international visitors on the first day with a peek at their public art performance, Blind. Mud-caked and blind-folded, the performers slowly trudged the streets of São Paulo, bewildering passersby and delighting conference attendees. World Stage Design winner, Sophie Jump, delivered the keynote speech and presented her performance piece Like a Fish Out of Water, which lucky Fort Worth Conference attendees had seen earlier in the year.

That first day was indicative of the relaxed atmosphere (so-called "Miami time" has nothing on "Brazilian time") and varied programming that would follow over the next four days. An international cadre of artists presented and discussed all manner of topics from the politics of art in Brazil to concerts accompanied by a real-time projection artist to making inflatables. All were broadly themed "the exploration of escaping traditional boundaries of performance and its design."

An example of the escape of traditional boundaries—at least the traditional boundaries of unsuspecting attendees was when Satyro, an avant-garde theatre company next door to the São Paulo Escola de Teatro, presented snippets from their performance Not Fornicarás. The work explores sex in a contemporary, tangible world and a post-modern, virtual world. Disembodied robotic heads, an actor interacting with the audience via an iPad, and vigorous, zebra-costumed performers surprised hapless Chat Roulette users.

OISTAT business was part of the event. The Education and Research commissions held annual business meetings, as did the Performance Design Commission and its various working groups: Lighting, Sound, and Costumes. A highlight of the Performance Design Commission meeting was the creation of a Space Design Working Group (that's primarily, though not exclusively, Scenic Design to Americans).

The final day saw a tour of the Theatro Municipal as well as presentations from the workshops held during the week. A Lady Macbeth-inspired make-up workshop displayed the participants' grisly work on live actors to an interested group of conference-goers.

The next meeting of these commissions, as well as the other OISTAT commissions, is scheduled around the Prague Quadrennial in June. Members of USITT are also a members of OISTAT and welcome and encouraged to participate in OISTAT activities and events. More information can be found at or at the Cincinnati 2015 Conference & Stage Expo session What's Going On With That OTHER Organization You're a Member Of?: OISTAT Activities.