Bachelor d’Bühni

15–26.2.2021

Interviews

Safran Theater
I was especially pleased that I could win Beat Albrecht for an interview. His core statement is it must all be in harmony with each other. The whole project was founded at the family table, according to the motto: Do not just talk, do it. Thus, all the electricity is generated via solar cells, projects must be consistent with the philosophy of Safran Theater and stage belongs to all (all earn the same amount). The money he gets from sponsors and cultural subsidies.

Theater with a portable stage (Privat)
The person wants to remain anonymous and the theater.
There were exciting impressions why a big theater has a portbale stage. On the one hand, it serves as a fallback option in the high season, when all the rooms are occupied. On the other hand, it is used as a substitute for the theater. However, with this stage it is possible to reach a different audience, to go more to the people and to offer a program to children.

Eventmangament Privat
The person wants to remain anonymous.
I had contact with a person who worked in the event industry for a long time and now works for a large media company. In which they also operate an event truck. It was exciting to hear his experiences, especially from an area where money plays a rather small role. And how he tried to pick up the end customers. How he talks about how people appreciate a unique experience, how they create this individuality but that there is still a lot to learn.
But the nice thing is that even they with their huge budget and event truck have trouble getting people into it. A good input at the end was who knows the end consumers. It is not those who have a bachelor’s degree in marketing or psychology but they who are on the “front line”. They are the sellers, waiters or just in my case the artists who feel what the customer / audience wants. So they should also be involved in decisions.

Dukta

Dukta Serge Lunin
I was able to look over Dukta’s shoulder and see how they create the most flexible shapes from rigid wooden boards with their Dukta technique. From Serge I also got inputs how I could build a sound wall for classical music instruments and what I had to pay attention to.

Prototype

My first prototype was more about showing my core interests. That the stage can be built modularly, certain parts can be used in two different ways and everything is set up quickly.

The second prototype was then created entirely based on the workshop with the actresses. The big statement from them was: Why create another stage that is exactly the same as all the others?
This way they would like to be closer to the audience, maybe even involve them.
It should not be big, because otherwise another or bigger vehicle must be organized. But it must fulfill certain basic things. A dance floor for the dancers, good acoustics for the musicians and a certain freedom in the set-up.

So the current stand is a set of different parts, plates for the dance floor, but which can also be transformed into an acoustic wall. A plug-in system of wooden slats which serve different backgrounds but also as a support for the wall. The material I use is wood. For the reason that it is firstly sustainable, easy to organize and tools for construction are mostly everywhere.
Also it is strong enough to withstand the stresses of dancing or carrying sound boxes at a certain height.

27,28&29.1.2021 Read and talk

These three days are completely dedicated to structuring this bachelor thesis, reading books, making outlines and clarifications.

So I had a ZOOM conversation with S.Krysler, he works for the ZHdK event management. I asked him on which guidelines I must pay attention when I create my stage. Just as an example, if it is made of wood, it must comply with any fire safety standards or how big it may be maximum to set up, etc. a very exciting conversation also with a lot of input. I am very free, since it is an outdoor installation I do not have to comply with any regulations. Only regarding the limitation of the noise, that outside a sound system may be set up max. to 22 o’clock and after that no more noise may be produced. So I have to think well at the Vernissage when which act comes on.

After that I started a call to the sound engineers at the ZHdK, if a person would be available to help me with certain questions. One person responded and I was able to ask her about the topic of sound in the open air. She told me that I didn’t have to worry about the speakers (PA system), just set them up and go.
In contrast to the classical instruments, here she would recommend me to work with round walls. That is, with the use of convex shapes (bundles the sound), depending on the concave surfaces (scattering of the sound). Difficult here is the testing before the production, the tests must be made with the material with which finally also the stage is produced. Because each material reflects and swallows the sound waves differently.

At the end she gave me a very important tip, because she herself comes from the event industry: Build a room / subfloor to store the technology! So many forget and then you have these ugly distributors with all the cables and that just does not look good.

Stadt Zürich/Stadtpolizei/Büro für Veranstaltungen
With this contact I really wanted to prepare this project for the time after the bachelor. What kind of regulations do I have to prepare for in the real world? The answer, none. I was quite surprised, it is always checked as from environment to environment. But the city of Zurich actually wants to give artists as much freedom as possible.
But here we come to something I have to watch out for. Am I an artist?
No. Since I am a private person I have no access to the public space. Therefore, if I want to set up my stage on public land, this must go through the artist.

25 &26.1.2021 Workshop findings

It is very important to evaluate the collected inputs from the first workshop. And also to review my experiences. It was really exciting to work with people who come from a completely different creative industry. Participants were 1 theater teacher, 3 dancers and 6 musicians. Interesting that I had to encourage them again and again during the brainstorm session to just start writing and not to hang on to their thoughts for too long. I thought this would be easy for them since improvisation and the resulting spontaneity is part of their studies. Another realization, we humans like to complain. While the question: What did the institutions and the stages you visited do well? the answers came rather sluggishly. What did the institutions and the stages therein that you visited not do well? Here the answers just shot out.

Using the cherry-picking technique, each person had to choose a negative and positive piece of paper. So that I saw directly the core concerns.

Main negativ

Really cool ideas came up during the prototype session. Very exciting approaches about modularity and that the aesthetics of the stage plays an important role. Where everyone agreed, why should you not be able to sit on a lamp? Because if everything stays the same as before, you might as well order a normal mobile stage. Each object should be able to perform several functions, i.e. the floor plates could also become a table, etc.
And the other statement about aesthetics was: Then I can just as well spread a rubber mat somewhere and dance. It must already stand out from the surroundings.

22.1.2021 Finding myself

What is this stage about? I thought I had worked out a certain depth, but the construct of portable stage and abuse of power did not come together the way I liked it. I noticed it myself and also learned about it through various discussions with other fellow students. They found it “too sought after”.
I used these two days to deal more intensively with this industry. Where are the problems?

Thanks to previous ZOOM meetings, I already knew about many problems that annoyed/burdened the artists.
These ranged from strong competition between the artists. Since the market in Switzerland is relatively small. To old and rigid structures in the industry. Young artists notice that rather an older clientele visit their concerts / pieces. But this is difficult to change because you first have to adapt to get somewhere. Which itself can be a big challenge. And if you have made it then it is almost impossible to change anything. At the same time, there is a general distortion in society that art is easy to “create”. This is mainly due to social media, where professionals compete with amateurs.
And so the impression can arise that everyone can immediately be a good dancer, actress or musician. But that a professional artist can deliver different performance in a week, few people are aware of.

What I came across in the process, my keyword flexibility. Actually, it’s a very flexible world. People with different backgrounds meet in this world, they all have to share a vision otherwise they can’t move forward together.
It may be time for institutions to adapt to a new and fast-moving future. Act more flexibly and go where the people are. Because the entertainment industry cannot continue to demand that people come to them forever.
Does theater belong back on the street?

With the word flexibility in mind, I was able to create a storyboard that I knew what to look for.

14.1.2021 Video & workshop

Video

How to present your idea? For oneself, a pretty simple task, until the time comes when you have to present your idea and you realize that the audience or users don’t understand half of it. Many make the mistake of believing that the users or viewers have a certain basic knowledge of the subject. Or that with time they will understand what it’s all about. But you have to pick up the viewers from the beginning and be able to grab them. Not that they click after 10 seconds to the next video.

I don’t think my first attempt was that bad. My lecturer hit a key point. She saw the stage as a digital platform on which artists can promote themselves. Social media and the easy distribution of content is a big inspiration for my stage. But it still has to become clearer what it is all about.

A simple spot that in essence represents my principles of the stage. As an artist, you don’t just perform these days. You have to write invoices, advertise, invite people, take part in auditions, organize stages everywhere on a tour, and so on and so forth.

It’s an older commercial with an outdated image of the woman. But the point is that this woman is in Berlin for an important appointment and her mind is probably at work. But what she doesn’t have to worry about is her hair. They sit, thanks to 3 weather taft. The same in London and LA, her thoughts can revolve around the meetings, she doesn’t have to worry about her hairstyle. It sits, thanks to 3 weather taffeta.

I would probably like to include the same in my little clip. The artists can have so many things on their mind, but they don’t have to worry about their stage and where they perform. Because they simply take them with them.

With great excitement I can hardly wait for the workshop on 20.1.21. To be optimally prepared for it. I have today selected various workshop techniques so that I have the most important information together at the end.

13.00 Welcome and status of the project. This serves not only the ritual of getting to know each other but also to be completely transparent to my participants. Show them what is going well and what is not. In addition, I can give them the first design inputs, so that they don’t have to start from scratch later and have a certain inspiration.

Form groups, make sure they are mixed.

13.15 First I gone start with the autumn leaves method. In this method, a question is asked and the participants then write the answer on a post-it and drop it. To see both side I will ask them: What do the institutions (Rote Fabrik, Tanzhaus, Oper etc. ) and the stages that are located in them well? & What are the institutions (Rote Fabrik, Tanzhaus, Oper etc. ) and the stages that are in them not doing well?

After that I use a technic called Cherry picking / Raisin picking. Why sort all the cards in a well-behaved manner if you only process a few of them at the end. Why sort all the cards in a well-behaved manner if you only process a few of them at the end. This way, the participants have to limit themselves to one positive and one negative answer that really concerns them.And for me it becomes clear what I should take on and where there are problems to be solved.

Raisin Pleadings, very short presentations will be given to show why the decision was made. In this way, further information may come to light.

13.55 Break

14.05 Paper prototyping, with the previous information, they can now start building their dream stage. Sketches are important but even more important to me is that they create a 3D model. So they can see for themself what is possible and what is not. I will also give them a light pen to highlight important connections such as power or AUX connections.

14.45 Break

14.55 Mix between body-storming and paper prototyping, after the break I will tell them to go to a different prototype and tell them that it starts to rain and they have to take the stage apart.. Now they and I can see if the idea from the other groups worked or not. Then they have to reassemble the stage and protect it from the rain. So I also have suggestions from their side, for this problem.

15.20 Discussion & compare goals

15.30 Finish

13.1.2021 Design Area

Addendum
Since I liked Roman’s and Zoé’s approach to the previous work Topic Area so much, I used their buzz- words. I also misunderstood the task a bit and got more involved with the design already. So here comes the qualities of my stage first:

  1. Scalability
    Local town and national wide (Switzerland)
  2. Accessibility
    Open for any artist
  3. Human -Centered
    Designing together with the artists
    Easy to use
    Easy to get
  4. System Leverage
    Bringing art and population closer together
  5. Individual Leverage
    Give the artists the chance to show themselves
    The artists can test something
    Flexible
  6. Implementation
    City & street festivals, Openairs, Theater, Oper, Schauspielhaus, Schools & youth club

Other than that, things were really moving forward today. And this time also really in the area of design. I tried to get away from my basic ideas and really think of ideas that I haven’t thought of yet. To develop 50 sketches, you first have to find out where you get all the inspiration from. During the morning I have compiled a mood board on which I could orient myself. There were 4 different areas and certain ideas could be assigned to different areas.

The first ideas revolve around large modular superstructures. This could be achieved by means of a plug-in system to build up a scaffold as quickly as possible. There are two options for this variant, either I invent my own system or use what is available on the market. For example, I could use a facade scaffold for this. What speaks for it? There are enough parts, I would not have to worry about statics or fastening. Also the handling would be no problem, because I know it from the construction site. Further, it would meet me in the up-cycling aspect and it would be strong enough to carry sound boxes and light. But an own system would give me a lot of freedom to implement individual ideas and to consider the wishes of the artists.

The constructions of my inspiration also reminded me of tent poles, so I also got the idea that you could build the stage like a tent. You would only have to take the right poles in hand and soon you would have a large area covered. The whole would probably but more suitable as a cover and could hardly carry a load.

The transformability does not let me go. With such an idea, the stage must be prepared for all possible situations, it is important that what is taken along can fulfill several functions. Aesthetically but the function comes before, so you find here again the plug system from before. But the idea can be taken further, with a collapsible grid wall. Suddenly the wall would become, floor and wall. Or a circle with many small holes in it, where you can insert height-adjustable rods. These bars serve not only as decoration but also as a shelf for sound boxes or light. (drawing green box)

Or as you can see in the inspiration pictures, objects can also be used in other ways. Suddenly you create a wall with countless beer carafes or a facade scaffolding is transformed into a chill out corner.

The stage may also be abstract. If it is already portable, why not build it directly into a car? So I could redesign the interior of a van so that it fits all artists needs and can be used. The range would be even faster and further accessible.
Or really think about how I can involve the audience in the stage. Do they sit right at the edge or do the stage and seats flow into each other?

What is a stage anyway? When developing ideas, one should break away from existing rules and find new approaches. Because a stage can also result from the acoustics or performance of the artist. People notice relatively quickly if they are too close to the musician and her music or if they are in the way of the dancer. Why should they then be restricted even more with a given stage?

So one idea is simply to create a limitation by light. The audience is signaled how far they can go without hindering the artist. At the same time it allows both sides to interact with each other without an obstacle in between.
Or you could perfect the equipment with which the artists are on the road so that it could be used by various artists. And compress it so tightly that you would have everything within a backpack. And give a whole new dimension to the reach of the artist.

12.1.2021 Topic Area

Today was all about finding out what my stage needs. I thought about the transport, what kind of construction and what kind of floor?

At first I thought of a car trailer. But only the purchase cost would be quite high, as well as the conversion of it. In addition, there would be a lot of administrative work such as through the road approval. In this period, hardly alone to master.

Safran Theater (inspiration for the car trailer)

The next thought was about a modular system which I can disassemble into small parts. So that not everything must be carried at once and you can put it together at the finish location. But here the question is, can I break down everything I want into such small parts and still carry it around with me? It will probably end up going out anyway that I have to rent a car. And depending on that, it will take some time to build up this modular system. Is it worth it to disassemble the stage into such small parts?

picture from: https://www.everblocksystems.com/decor-props-scenery

The solution for me is a variation of both. Modular to a certain degree. Rods for boxes and light must be easy and quick to disassemble. The floor, if there is one, should be separated as little as possible. So you avoid tripping hazards and with uneven ground it is easy to compensate for this.
But a mobile rack would not be bad, so that in difficult stretches the car can be left and you just go on with the rack.

I had already thought about how my stage could look like. So the first 3D models were created. But as you can see, it only scratched the surface in terms of usability.

Today, I have dealt with various floor shapes. I really came to the conclusion that a rectangle is the best shape. Since it optimally utilizes the area given to it. With a triangle or hexagon you always lose a piece of it. Also, a rectangle is very grateful because you can also set it up, and for example can be used as a canvas. The mounting is not as big a problem as with a circle. There are many small details that finally speak for a rectangle.

By figuring out what all I need in addition, I suddenly found a system how I could attach boxes and lights modular. I could provide a wooden strip with the same length of the stage with holes. In which you could then put aluminum rods inside and fix them, so you can always put boxes and light on it. Plus they are close to the stage, important if it rains or storms.

Here we would have three applications of the stage.

  1. Once very simple, when the artist does not need more than the stage. As you can see the mounting system for sound boxes & light is used here as a decoration holder.
  2. Already a bit more elaborate but still simple, would then be the stage which is probably only used towards the evening. With sound boxes and light, so that the performers see something.
  3. The third variant would then simply be an enlargement of the second. What you could do here now, put more aluminum rods in between the sound boxes & light. That it comes more to a show effect.

I have not forgotten my resolution, less energy consumption. So I did a little experiment at home about how much louder I can make the music without electricity. So I made myself a paper prototype of a dome. I could really see an improvement but in a very small range. The DB strength was tested via laptop. Once I put my phone just like that on the table and then in the paper dome.But I stay tuned and maybe it is possible to incorporate this idea into my design.

In addition, I had a conversation today with Stefan Kreysler regarding the stage and what requirements it must meet. Positive news, since it is an outdoor stage I do not have to comply with any conditions. For example, when I use wood it does not have to have a fire resistance of a certain duration.

11.1.2021 Exercise 1: 20 ways of description

The first day of my bachelor thesis, how exciting. And it started right away with a quick round of sketch drawing. Although the day was a bit long (thank you Zoom). It was also exciting to see what the other groups & people will be working on in the next few months. Looking forward to it!!!

I set myself the goal of designing a portable stage for artists from all directions. How did it come about? It all started pretty simple for me. Through my first jobs in the theater business, I saw how everything worked behind the scenes. From my point of view, things were pretty harmonious, people communicated openly with each other and were able to contribute their own ideas.
However, in retrospect, it was also a small illusion of mine that the dancers and musicians had freedom. Because a lot was actually already determined before like costumes, which style of music, stage design, choreography, so actually the whole concept. The input which the artists or musicians could bring in was actually very small in the end. Which made me think a lot.

At the same time it is a very open world, because I enjoyed already a great freedom as a student. My interactive projection helped to define the piece, because it was used as a bridge between two different sections.

And so I began to think about how I could pass on this freedom to dancers, musicians or actors. I found my answer in a portable stage. A stage that is available to all people. So just make something existing more contemporary and that’s it? No, I lacked content here for a long time, until I was made aware that not everything is good in this industry.

As I have already experienced in my first interviews, the problem is the old and rigid structures that are mostly followed by older and young people. Secondly, how the structures are enforced, in a survey of almost 2000 participants, Thomas Schmidt found in his book “Power as Concept of structure and organization in theater“ that more than 50% were already exposed to abuse of power. I try to prove in my thesis how I can compete with my stage against it or not make the same mistakes.
It is probably the most important point at which my stage does not remain only a superficial product but also reaches a certain depth and can also help the artists.

Ideas for my portable stage

Nr. 3

The lightning stands here symbolically for the energy consumption. Because it is my concern to achieve as much as possible by design e.g. do you need directly boxes to amplify a musical instrument or can it also happen through a curved wall? I’m looking forward to this part because it allows me to experiment and see what can be achieved with certain changes.

Nr. 2

As I mentioned before I want to work against abuse of power. All participants should feel welcome, regardless of age or education, and they should be as free as possible in their activities.
“The smallest stage in the world with the greatest freedom”.
This approach also concerns me, should I be the owner of this stage? Can I let go and just hand it over to the users?

This is an exciting question that I would like to explore in my thesis.

Nr. 1

But my biggest concern is the users, in this case the dancers, musicians and actors should be part of the most important decisions. My project should implement what we have now learned 2.5 years. As designers, we must not override the people who use our product. Co-design and interviews will be an important companion of my project. For me, the worst thing would be to end up with a stage where no one could perform.

I hope the lecturers will be patient with certain situations, but I would like to clarify important decisions with the artists as the case may be.

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