Thursday, June 28, 2012

David Roberts Foundation – Opera - The Exhibition in Movement

An Opera in Five Acts is a project of  Vision Forum realised in collaboration with DRAF.


An Opera in Five Acts is initiated and led by Fatos Ustek and Per Huttner with Ariella Yedgar, Joel Vacheron, Annalisa Sonzogni, Jean Louis Huhta, Anna Berglind and Manuela Ribadeniera.

An Opera in Five Acts is an interactive production of an imaginary opera. Each act is treated as the place a development for one aspect or components that make up an opera. We devote one sessions each to: the libretto, the stage, the musical instruments, the choreography and the music. Opera in Five Acts is based on the conceptual framework of the exhibition "A House of Leaves" and builds on the artworks that are being shown.

An Opera in Five Acts invites the audience to take part in the course of its production. If you want to participate write to info@davidrobertsartfoundation. You are welcome to participate in ACT I-IV. ACT V will not host audience participation. For more info about times for the acts and its content look below.

Act I – 17.11.2012 : Libretto
Please join us for the production of the characters and the script of the Opera.
Led by Ariella Yedgar, Fatos Ustek, Annalisa Soznogni, Joel Vacheron.

Act II – 15.12.2012: Musical Instruments
Please be invited to join Joel Vacheron, Manuela Ribenaidenira, Annalisa Soznogni, Fatos Ustek, Ariella Yedgar and Per Huttner to produce the musical instruments for the characters of the Opera from the installation tools of DRAF.

ACT III – 19.01.2012: Choreography
Conceptualised by Manuela Ribadeneira and Fatos Ustek, realised with Annalisa Sonzogni, Joel Vacheron, Ariella Yedgar, ACT III invites you to take part as performers both on stage, in the orchestra and in the audience.

ACT IV – 26.01.2012: Stage and Lighting
Please join Per Huttner, Fatos Ustek, Annalisa Sonzogni, Joel Vacheron,   Manuela Ribenaidenira creating the stage  and lights for the opera built on ACT III.

ACT V – 09.02.2012: Soundtrack and Scene
Please join us for the hearing of the soundtrack of An Opera... composed by Jean Louis Huhta sourced upon the four former acts, within the scenery conceptualised by Anna Berglind.


November 2012:


A. We consider that the most important aspect of any exhibition is what I like to call its 'neomatic dimension'. The exhibition's ability to linger in the visitor's mind and to continue to provoke new thoughts over time.

B. This means that the exhibition is far from over when the gallery closes for re-installation. A successful exhibition will continue to work in the minds of the visitors for decades after its closing date.

C. We would like to build on this, and actually perform the opera after 'The House of Leaves' has closed. It will take place in an undisclosed place at an undisclosed time. This will allow us to trigger the imagination of the audience and the participants in Fig.5 and the people involved in the production of the Opera.


“What an individual perceives as the absence of an object, is in actuality merely the finding of another object that he or she did not seek.”
- Henri Bergson as quoted by Branden W. Joseph.

By Fatos Ustek and Per Huttner

With: Ariella Yedgar, Joel Vacheron, Annalisa Sonzogni, Jean Louis Huhta, Anna Berglind and Manuela Ribadeniera who will be joined by a group of students at the DRF academy.

Field of research:
The prevailing tradition in exhibition making is one of non-evolution. The norm is that they are ‘identical’ at the opening and at the finissage. The object of this project is to investigate how forms of change can be incorporated into the exhibition. We insert, in other words a timeline into the exhibition.

For this research we have two starting points:

1. We want to look at what aspects of the traditional drama (theatre, opera and film) can be used in the staging of an exhibition.
2. We want to look at how neuroscience looks at expectation, how what we expect also affects what we get.

As a starting point we have used the idea that a group of creators can activate the DRF’s collection in an exhibition situation that is mobile and continuously changing by creating an ‘opera’ on the Piccadilly line. In order to do so, we invite a group of art professionals and creators who has special experience in temporal creation (theatre, film, sound etc.). The workshop and exhibition is highly likely to take another form of realization, but we use this as a starting point.

This temporal working method, independently of how it is presented to the public, is proposed with the explicit goal to move art closer to the everyday life experience of the audience.

Many artists have used a timeline in their exhibitions. Examples are Dora Garcia’s Spanish Pavillion for the 2011 Venice Pavillion, Nathan Coley’s churches at Ikon Gallery in Birmingham and Per Hüttner’s I am a Curator at Chisenhale Gallery in London.

The DRF’s collection will be the starting point for the research. The interventions can take many forms, but will always take their starting point in an existing work in the collection. We will work with neuroscientists who do research on human expectation and how that influences the experience. We have previous positive working experiences with Predrag Petrovic who does research on the placebo effect.


A small group of creators will start the research. The group will be made up by creators who have special knowledge in time-based fields like theatre, music and film. The research will both to look closely at DRF’s collection and also look at how different interventions can be realized in public spaces in London as well at DRF. This smaller group will later be joined by a larger group of students in the first incarnation of the DRF Academy.

Preliminary Results:
* The research will achieve a better understanding of the potential of DRF’s collection, how it can be used to bridge the gap between contemporary art and its audiences.
* The project will likewise offer a deeper understanding of how exhibitions can be shaped so that they remain in constant change from beginning to end.
* The project will offer a deeper understanding on how expectations frame the experience of exhibitions.