Summer 2008

ARTS 641
Transforming Text: Constructing Visual Literacy for Contemporary Performance


06/23/2008 - 08/01/2008
Tuesday & Thursday 05:30 PM - 08:00 PM

The discipline of performance is essentially a collaborative one, where the intersection between text, actor, and visual setting creates a different world. How to bring this world to life and how to transform written words into images is a central part of theater, particularly in the tradition of visual theater where the aim of creating a visual world dictates how scenography, costumes, and performer interact. Transforming text is a hands-on introduction to design and creation of visual performance.

In this course, we will explore, deconstruct and reinvent text by utilizing tools from design and visual arts. Through practical assignments, we will train our visual imagination as well as develop an aesthetic literacy and knowledge of different performance elements, thus re-contextualizing contemporary performance as a "performative event." Our main objectives for this course include understanding the creative process, learning how to transform the individual vision from text to a visual object, gaining practical experience by creating projects, articulating personal aesthetics, tastes, and passions, and obtaining the basic skills for peer criticism and collaboration.

Texts for this course include Michael Huxley and Noel Witts, The Twentieth Century Performance Reader; Allan Kaprow, Essays on the Blurring of Art and Life; Hans van Maanen, et al., Theatrical Events: Borders-Dynamics-Frames.

Course assignments are designed as independent projects and focus on specific aspects, such as object design, garment design, and environmental design. Each assignment will be researched, rendered, and presented to the class individually through each step of the process (text, research-stage, concept-development, visual-image, technical-feasibility, and execution).

Marcela Oteiza Silva (B.F.A., University of Chile; M.F.A., California Institute of the Arts) is adjunct assistant professor of theater and the scenic designer in residence. She is a multidisciplinary visual artist whose work has taken a variety of forms including design for the theater, installation performances, and mixed media. Some of her collaborative and multidisciplinary projects have been: Family Portrait (photo-performance with eXpuestos group, City of Panama, 2004); Wandering Rocks (video performance for James Joyce One Hundred Year Anniversary Celebration, Dublin, 2004); Heart Piece by Heiner Muller (Grant awarded performance at California Institute of the Arts, 2001); and One Year Ago Today (Grant awarded Installation Performance Based on The three Sisters by Chekov, California Institute of the Arts 2000). View Marcela Oteiza's profile here.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Performance

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 12

Texts to purchase for this course:

Register for Courses

Contact to submit comments or suggestions. 
Copyright Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, 06459