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Scenography and new media technologies: history, educational applications and visualization techniques

By Iryna Kuksa

Abstract

The endemic presence of digital technology is responsible for numerous changes in contemporary Western societies. This study examines the role of multimedia within the field of theatre studies, with particular focus on the theory and practice of theatre design and education. In the cross-disciplinary literature review, I investigate such primary elements of contemporary media as interactivity, immersion, integration and hyper-textuality, and explore their characteristics in the performing arts before and during the digital epoch. I also discuss various IT applications that transformed the way we experience, learn and co-create our cultural heritage. In order to illustrate how computer-generated environments could change the way we perceive and deliver cultural values, I explore a suite of rapidly-developing communication and computer-visualization techniques, which enable reciprocal exchange between viewers, theatre performances and artefacts. I analyze novel technology-mediated teaching techniques that attempt to provide a new media platform for visually-enhanced information transfer.\ud My findings indicate that the recent changes towards the personalization of knowledge delivery and also towards student-centered study and e-learning necessitated the transformation of the learners from passive consumers of digital products to active and creative participants in the learning experience. The analysis of questionnaires and two case studies (the THEATRON and the VA projects) demonstrate the need for further development of digital-visualization techniques, especially for studying and researching scenographic artefacts. As a practical component of this thesis, I have designed and developed the Set-SPECTRUM educational project, which aims to strengthen the visual skills of the students, ultimately enabling them to use imagery as a creative tool, and as a means to analyze theatrical performances and artefacts. The 3D reconstruction of Norman Bel Geddes' set for The Divine Comedy, first of all, enables academic research of the artefact, exposing some hitherto unknown design-limitations in the original set-model, and revealing some construction inconsistencies; secondly, it contributes to educational and creative practices, offering an innovative way to learn about scenography. And, thirdly, it fills a gap in the history of the Western theatre design.\ud This study attempts to show that when translated into digital language, scenographic artefacts become easily retrievable and highly accessible for learning and research purposes. Therefore, the development of such digital products should be encouraged, but care should also be taken to provide the necessary training for users, in order to realize the applications' full potential

Topics: PN2000
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:1156

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