Year: 2019
Place: Prague, Czech Republic
Type: Result-driven site-specific workshop at Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space – PQ 2019
Workshop leaders: Ephemera Collective – Miljana Zeković, Višnja Žugić, Bojan Stojković (Serbia), Jorge Palinhos (Portugal), Attila Antal (Hungary), Eric Villanueva dela Cruz (The Philippines)
Workshop participants: Aude Vallerand (Canada), Corina Fischer (Canada), Daniela Krabbe (Germany), Gilles Pollak (Belgium), Jiaying Zhang (China), Juli Sanjuan Palma (Catalonia/Spain), Milica Denković (Serbia), Pedro Sanchez Carbajo (Spain), Sara Martinsen (The Netherlands)

Relying firmly on all three aspects of the PQ2019 – Imagination, Transformation and Memory the workshop emphasized the importance of diversity in spatial practices. An abandoned building found in Prague – ‘The Ghost’ itself! – embraced a group of provocateurs and participants in a quest for illusive, mystified and highly layered spirit of the place (aka genius loci).

By acknowledging and embracing the space as a protagonist of a performative action, this group of spatial enthusiasts provoked and engaged into a deeply meaningful dialogues, in creation of a unique site-based experience. Peeling of the layers of spatial memory, imagining narratives that could have happened there, chasing spirits, vibes and atmosphere, transforming the existing spatial expressions into personal phrases and shapes, were just some of the clips in this creative chain. The workshop took place in an abandoned school – Nová strašnická škola. It lasted for four days and ended with a photo-exhibition in the Exhibition Grounds of Prague.

“Space is a virus that invades our bodies and takes control of them, while constantly evading the firmer grasp of our conscience. But we prefer to call it “the ghost”, in homage to the Gothic artists who were fascinated by the uncanny enigmas of place, and as a reminder that all cultural forms, such as architecture, theatre and art, are built upon ethereal things.

The Quest was an interdisciplinary four-day journey in search for this mythical beast of space, “whose strange and plural form haunts the tangle of unending interwoven stone” (Jorge Luis Borges). It involved three architects, two directors, one dramaturg and a crew of participants from around the world, all united by the fascination for its pervasive power, and in pursuit of its unfathomable nature.

In an abandoned school of Prague, the participants were invited to generate space, either by looking at it through fresh eyes, through cameras, through the written word, with their own bodies or through the sound of the building. Later, they were slowly challenged to rethink the layers and compositions of space through movement, interaction, objects and framing.

Finally, the participants were requested to imbue space with their own emotions and memories, in order to develop personal insights into space and discover its living/unliving nature and how, like a virus, space is always performing secretly on all bodies.

This photo-exhibition and lexicon is what remains of that experience. It displays some of the challenges offered to the participants, and reveals how, ultimately, the space that was inhabited during these four days became their emotional map, their home, their stage, their journey and their quest.”