European art design academies’ “attack” on the northern Netherlands city of Groningen during the Out of Frames festival in 1991
Berlin, Bratislava, Brussels, Groningen, Helsinki, London, Milan, Prague, Warsaw - places of nine renown European art design academies from where originated the students that participated in the Out of Frames student workshop and festival in Netherlands in the summer of 1991. The Art Design Academy in Groningen became not only a host for a month-long workshop, but the city itself offered as the place of the students’ performances. Art design students focused on theatrical design were developing and creating here the ideas, storyboards, performances, backdrops, and props, while they were also living, sleeping, eating, and generally occupying the big studio hangar Kwint. Only one condition was set - every project had to develop an idea of “The City.”
I and my small film crew followed and shot this extensive, multinational, and highly populated event as best as we could, tearing in nine different directions for two weeks, every day from morning till night. In this movie every school and its group of students got the chance to introduce themselves in their original way, say a couple of words about their art design idea, and create an animate the name of the city their academy was located and they were from. In the snippets from performances, you can see many of the art designers also as actors themselves, playing in their own performances.
Our finished movie - concert of students’ ideas, brewing and bubbling in all possible directions - earned the label of being too esoteric, for the BBC Channel 4, when I offered this movie for a broadcast. I do not know, maybe… Maybe it was just because the students from the London Academy voiced this unison description of their design in the movie: “Actually, I think it’s f---ing marvellous!”
If you are interested in an older kind of theatrical design that deceived the viewers’ eyes already in 18th century, watch a documentary film about restoration of St. Barbara’s Chapel and it’s trompe l’oeil walls.