Josef Svoboda: Diapolykran The Creation of the World Expo67

Josef Svoboda: Diapolykran The Creation of the World Expo67

Svoboda was a brilliant scenographic artist and stage designer. He founded the Laterna Magicka group and the Diapolyekran (multi-screen array) was invented for the Brussels World Fair of 1958, and had a major impact at the Canadian Expo67 in Montreal.
“Polyekran offers the possibility of free composition, a free shaping and creation on several screens. Images of real objects and people are projected, but the relationships among them are not realistic, but rather supra-realistic, perhaps surrealistic. Essentially, it’s the principle of abstract and pure collage, which is an old and basic technique of theatre. “Op art” is perhaps simply a more recent name for it. In any case, the contrast of varied things on stage is basic to theatre; the objects thereby acquire new relationships and significance, a new and different reality.”
In comparison with Polyekran, which is totally a film spectacle and technically a concern of film, Laterna Magika is theatre with living actors, singers, dancers, musicians. . . . On the one hand we used familiar scenographic techniques such as slides and film projection. New expressive possibilities were added by panoramic film and projection with multi-exposure on several screens at once. A second feature is the use of mobile screens that are joined to the performance of a live actor.
(Svoboda, quoted in “O svetelnem divadle,” Informacni Zpravy Scenograficke Laboratore (Sept. 1958), P. 5.)

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