The Hidden Life of Space: Site Base Performance Ecology

Toasterlab’s Involvement

The Hidden Life of Space was co-led by Toasterlab’s Justine and Ian Garrett. Paul Cegys, an Atelier Advisory Board member, also worked as a co-leader of the project.

Overview of Discipline, Context, Intention

Contemporary ecological concerns bring with them an opportunity for innovation; to rethink traditional theatre practices and forge ecologically inspired approaches that push intellectual and creative boundaries. The Hidden Life of Space: Site Base Performance Ecology is a three-day workshop in which participants work in small groups to create mixed-reality performances using principles of ‘ecoscenography,’ site-responsive dramaturgies, and virtual-scenographic techniques in Stromovka Park. The aim of the workshop is to explore how scenographers might consider their practice within the broader system of ecological organisation to build designs that encompass environmental, social, and political potential.

Environmentalist David Suzuki proposes that our current environmental crisis is in part to do with the situation that most of what we know about the world, comes to us through various forms of representational knowledge: media, history, economics, politics, and other discourses. Even our own stories or anecdotal versions of events could be considered as representational knowledge. To challenge these conventional ways of knowing, this workshop will introduce participants to the concept of ‘ecoscenography,’ where embodied, creative, and environmentally conscious processes align to become a fundamental part of the scenographer’s ideas, processes and aesthetics.


These workshops resulted in a public sharing of many site-responsive works that explored how trees communicate. These site-responsive works integrated technologies such as locative audio and virtual reality experiences. Attendees at the Prague Quadrennial were invited to experience these site-responsive works.


Using a variety of analogue and virtual technologies, participants examined how considering wider socio-ecological factors of place can lead to a renewed investigation of scenographic materials, processes, aesthetics, roles, and partnerships that can also guide a positive future. 

Participants worked with these principles of ecoscenography and site-specific performance to examine the ecologies of Stomovka Park used immersive media tools such as 360-degree virtural reality video, spatial and binaural audio, and geolocation as methods for enhancing the performativity of this place and re-examining methods for creating representational knowledge.

On Day 1, participants were introduced to the conceptual foundations in ecoscenography and site-specific performance before moving to the site of the exploration.

On Day 2, participants were introduced to new media forms to continue an iterative exploration of space.

On Day 3, participants continued to refine the performance explorations in preparation for a public presentation in the evening.

Performance Runs

The Hidden Life of Space was presented at the Prague Quadrennial on June 12, 2019.

Relevant Organizations and People

Tanja Beer
Paul Cegys
Ian Garrett
Justine Garrett
Andy Houston