Rimini Protokoll Unites Theater And City At Cccb With Urban Nature
The acclaimed group Rimini Protokoll, interested in new forms of communication, has just premiered at the CCCB ‘Urban nature’, an ambitious production created in Barcelona, where it will remain until September and which in 2022 will travel to the Kunsthalle in Manheim, co-producer of the project.
‘Urban nature’ introduces the viewer to the challenges for the sustainability of large citieslooking at the city with different eyes through a theatrical journey that starts with projections and recordings of real testimonies.
There are seven people from Barcelona who have provided their experiences as the basis for this universal reflection on the viability of an urban model threatened by social inequalities and the management of natural resources such as water, among others.
‘Urban nature’ is a great choreography where real and filmed bodies coexist, the recorded testimony and that of those who will tour that space that occupies the third floor of the CCCB. Walkable film, expanded theater or overflowing exhibition are the terms chosen by the center to describe this curious experience that is worth discovering.
It is an exhibition to be lived where the viewer is both an actor, something that is perceived in a special way in the last section of the route. There is as much previous field work as hours dedicated to polishing the real testimonies that nourish the piece and to fine-tune all the visual and sound planes of the journey.
The work of the three Rimini Protokoll theater directors – Helgard Haug, Stefan Kaegi and Daniel Wetzel – with the set designer Dominic Huber. The scenography, projections and sound setting allow other realities to be experienced in a different way, trying to get inside the skin of different beings in Rimini Protokoll’s third bet focused on big cities after ‘Utópolis’ and ‘100% city’.
In ‘Urban nature’ the viewer will not feel exactly in an exhibition but rather part of a movie or an expanded theater set through which he circulates connecting with that magma of souls that coexist in a large city. And penetrate different worlds through real testimonials, as incredible as some may seem.
The seven chosen protagonists represent very different economic systems: a homeless person, an investment consultancy, a girl from Raval who talks about her fears and how she imagines the city of the future. Or the vision of the life of a separated mother who decides to leave advertising to dedicate herself to growing marijuana as a formula to be able to combine raising her son and work.
The public, in groups of between 2 and 11 people, takes a tour that allows them to see the city with different eyes, walking through a floor of the CCCB set and with sound from different sets, not always with walls that separate one from the other, allowing a reverberation of sounds and ideas that adds another layer to the thought raised. The journey begins in a square, takes you to a modern design bar or a homeless hostel.
The participation of the public is important in the work, first because in each group someone must carry a tablet and follow some instructions so that everything flows. And secondly, because the reactions of the spectators also give a clear idea of the many mentalities and communities that coexist in a big city where, as in the CCCB, everything is connected.
One of the graces of the exhibition is the possibility of playing an active role in it by carrying a tablet that activates a series of situations. “It’s like operating with a camera, although it doesn’t actually record,” explains Daniel Wetzel. “Whoever wears it must follow some images and instructions. It may feel more like an astronaut because even though you see the exhibition, you are more in a bubble and you feel more pressure. The good thing is to go back to see the exhibition from another angle.”
The project started long before the lockdown. Rimini Protokoll were almost the first ones Cesc Casadesús called when he was appointed director of the Grec in 2016. This hybrid project has been “a challenge for all the departments of the house”, has recognized Jordi Costa, head of the exhibitions department of the CCCB . “
‘Urban nature’ has a very complex technological device but at its core it is a game that highlights the value and power of theater and representation”.A game where a girl can become a head of finance or a banker become a declassified.
“We did not have defined profiles. We started with a blank page and depending on the people who wanted to participate, their stories and their availability, we chose,” says Helga Haug. They did about 25 interviews, many via Zoom because of the pandemic, another added difficulty in the preparation of the project.