This multi-media spatial installation of moving images, structures, music, light and performance, entitled as In the Back of Time, was conceived based on the motifs from the novel To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, in a close collaboration between a range of renowned artists from various fields of contemporary art. Quite unusually, we will enter instead of a regular auditorium, a tunnel, or the Lutkovno gledališče Ljubljana backstage, extending as far as the castle hill. We will be led through this spatial installation by music, words and sounds that will capture the story's atmosphere and thus shed light on its process of creation, intimate relations within a family and the dimension of time.
in Slovene and English
PREMIERE: 23rd June, 18.00-21.00, Tunnel LGL
Lutkovno gledališče Ljubljana (1948) is the
principal Slovenian puppet theatre, hosting puppet shows and
drama performances for children, young people and adults. The theatre,
which operates in 6 venues and premieres 10 performances every year, also
boasts the production of 2 biennial festivals – the International Puppet
Theatre Festival LUTKE and the National Festival of Performing Arts for
Children and Young People Zlata paličica. Since autumn 2015 the Ljubljana Puppet Theatre has also been showcasing
Slovenian puppetry legacy in the Museum of Puppetry at the Ljubljana Castle.
IN THE BACK OF THE TIME
When Everything Falls Into Place
– An Interplay between Three Ontological Dimensions
The interdisciplinary project, conceived by Urša Vidic and Meta Grgurevič, is based on the motifs from the novel To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. Emerging from the story, understood by some of its interpreters as a shift from traditional literary genres, are the three themes that are closely intertwined with each other and also anchored by the two authors into their original work of art:
Innermost Feelings and Family Ties
- innermost feelings and family ties
- importance of artistic creation
- transience and cyclicality of time
Virginia Woolf, an intellectual, ingenious writer and feminist, was rather critical towards the traditional literary creation, and predominantly to the genres that pushed the voices of female characters aside. She was known to dislike the famous writer James Joyce, for creating with his Ulysses a modern Odysseus, thus putting to the forefront a »wandering hero«, looking for his place under the sun in the everyday life and metropolitan streets of Dublin. Virginia Woolf bases her novel on the epic poem of Odyssey as well, but rather uses - instead of a male -, a female character, called Mrs. Ramsay. In the traditional epic poem the world is saved by (male) heroes, who are involved in the political issues, warfare and games of honour, while in the Woolf's novel the extensiveness of the world is mirrored through intimate ties, family space and home, where the small stories, subtle motions and happenings take place. The same way as Odysseus needed ten years (after the war of Troy) to return to his wife Penelope, Mrs. Ramsay's family needed the same period of time to revisit its family house by the sea, symbolising »the place of beginning«. The beginning of the story is closely linked with the main event of the novel, when her son James expresses his wish to visit the lighthouse. Beside the family, which at that time is still complete (later, in the second part of the novel, Mrs. Ramsay and her two children die), the writer also depicts a character named Lily, an artist, who resisting the traditional requirements of the society, decides not to marry. In the last part of the book Lily is finishing her painting, while Mr. Ramsay paddles towards the lighthouse with his (now already grown up) children -, which could be understood as a metaphor for a journey to a promised land.
The project, signed by Urša Vidic and Meta Grgurevič, offers many possible interpretations. The reason for such versatility - among other things, - lies in the fact that the authors do not unveil the story chapter by chapter, but rather reproduce the atmosphere of particular scenes torn out from the whole. In doing so, they use the stream of consciousness technique, introduced in the writing, offered by the modernist writer herself. The venue, chosen for this event, is situated underground -the viewers are travelling through a tunnel, the same way as the readers are through an intimate atmosphere offered by personal stories and turns of mind, splitting in different directions.
The motif of the lighthouse is depicted by the authors in the form of electric bulbs, swinging to and fro above the water. It is thus that they perhaps intended to indicate that the path to »truth« can be dangerous, not only because it lies “beneath« the historically beaten and lots of times driven routes, but also because those who follow it, are to face their own, often painful intimate stories.Importance of Artistic Creation
Particularly interesting in my opinion is the introduction of »the act of weaving«, wherein the authors rely not only on the scenes from the novel (Mrs. Ramsay is often depicted holding knitting needles in her hands and knitting), but also on the epic poem Odyssey, or, more specifically, on the character of Penelope. In their staging »the act of weaving« no longer symbolises the actions of »the loyal woman«, or »the good wife« Penelope, waiting for Odysseus to return from Troy, but rather the creative process of “the modern woman”, steering through her different roles (as a mother, artist, lover, career woman, etc.). This process is not only marked by the construction of the artistic product, but also by the »decomposition", or »unstitching" of the already existing material, by lapses, feeling one's way through the dark and testing of some new situations. Creativity is namely a process that is not bound to the goal, but rather to the relations, the relationships between the people and their environment. It is in this environment that the creative forces circulate, touch and come in contact with each other in order to weave new, open structures. Creativity, by means of which man builds his own identity, also depends on responsibility and interaction, »therefore, every stroke of brush across the canvas matters«, says Lily, the painter, with whom Virginia Woolf deconstructs the crippling definitions of sexual identities.Transience and Cyclicality of Time
The main characters of the novel are looking for »small revelations« that would give meaning to their lives. They are aware of the brutal passing of time, depicted by the writer as through the tragic events in the family (the motif of death constantly lingering in the foreground), as well as through the meticulous descriptions of the nature: »…the house was deserted. It was left like a shell on a sandhill to fill with dry salt grains now that life had left it … »
And, the very same scenes also became a part of the artistic space, created by Urša Vidic and Meta Grgurevič. Appearing within their staging are such elements as water, air, earth and fire. In their video installation we are witnessing a tree, growing from a woman's hand, which made me think that we belong to a world that is in its constant creation and has thus not yet reached its final form …, and that when we spontaneously respond to life situations, we actually co-create the world. Through the atmosphere they have created, the authors also allow the viewers an insight into yet another dimension of existence – the space, hidden in the everyday, seemingly unimportant things (the way the fingers are wrapped around a cup of tea, or the child combs her mother's hair ...).
And where else could the »small revelations« be hidden if not in the everyday things, and, above all in the ability to live in the moment that connects the past and the future. Time runs like the wind, like the breath, cycling around in a form of creative flows; … therefore, what we actually have to become aware of is the endless repetition of things. And as Virginia Woolf says: … »something she had seen. For in the rough and tumble of daily life, with all those children about, all those visitors, one had constantly a sense of repetition — of one thing falling where another had fallen, and so setting up an echo which chimed in the air and made it full of vibrations.«
It is through the skilful weaving of images and atmosphere in the work of art by Urša Vidic and Meta Grgurevič that one thing falls where another had fallen as well, and thus creates the space for its different echoes, different interpretations.
Veiled by memory, tinged by dreams.