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History of the Biennale of Scene Design

Yugoslav Center for Performing Arts and Technology (YUSTAT) was established as an acknowledgement of the complex structure of artistic disciplines, engineering technologies and crafts that make up a performance event. The desire behind it was for individuals from different places and institutions – those engaged in conceptualizing, preparing, and realizing performance events, whether in theaters, schools and universities, or design departments and performance companies, art studios and professional agencies – to be able to meet, in one place, both as equals and as competent practitioners of their respective professions.  The main task of YUSTAT, comprising local professionals end expert institutions, was to use different methods and formats to contribute to the establishment, development, and validation of all the areas, activities and processes constituting the physical corpus and apparatus of performance space, including the means by which theaters and the various spectacles communicate and correspond with the public and its culturally structured social sphere.  Alongside organizing educational and informative programs, scientific and expert events and conventions, publication, and work on establishing professional normative standards, as well as facilitating international cooperation, both within and outside OISTAT (International Organization of Scenographers, Theatre Architects and Technicians), the Association’s continued and sustained exhibition activities represented one of the key segments of its work.

With this rationale in mind, the Biennale of Scene Design was established as one of YUSTAT’s most important permanent projects.  The structure of this exhibition emphasized the ternate character of both the spectacle (space – scene – event), and the whole production process (the author’s work – technical development and preparation – realization).  For this reason, works of applied scene art and craftsmanship would be exhibited at the forefront of the Biennale, alongside visual, sound and performance space design, including the means used to promote and communicate the spectacle.

The basic task of the First Biennale of Scene Design was to show the numerous layers used to create and contain within them the structure of a performance event, and, in doing so, emphasize its values, both those already established within the profession, but also, and in equal part, some new ones, by encouraging the search for new approaches, directions and areas of exploration.  At the same time, the Biennale’s main exhibition served to help select the works that would go on to represent Yugoslavia at the Prague Quadrennial, unequivocally accepted as the single most significant international manifestation in the area of scene design.