Talk at TAAK: River Scene


Presentatie on River Scene at TAAK

August 30, 2013

This summer a raft floated on the Russian river Ugra. On 30 August William Speakman and Theo Tegelaers tell about their journey. How did they experience the stories of local people and their lives along the river? The resulting video of the project will be premiering this evening.


Start: 17.30

Program: presentations by Theo Tegelaers and William Speakman, premiere of 'River Scene' and soup.

Location: TAAK-space: the French Wollantstraat 82, Amsterdam

Admission: free

Drinks: € 2.00; wine / beer: € 2.00, soup and bread € 5.00

Language: English


About River Scene
River Scene took place in July 2013 during a three-day trip on the Ugra River in through the Ugra National Park on a raft designed and built by William Speakman. The construction of the raft, the journey along the river, and the dismantling and conversion of the raft into a theatre form the core of the work. The other components of the work are a video about the landscape and a song. A choir of residents from the area sang a song, the text was based on a poem by a 85-year resident of the park.
About the area
Ugra Park is a protected nature reserve and cultural-historical area four hours to the south of Moscow. Thanks to the summertime Archstoyanie Festival, this beautiful woody landscape that is traversed by the meandering Ugra River and punctuated by farmland and small farming villages, has become one of the most popular cultural attractions in the region. The Archpolis organisation wants to continue transforming this area into a centre for contemporary landscape art, a synthesis of art, architecture, music, nature and social interactions, where the potential of the area and its inhabitants are developed and artistic experimentation is encouraged.
Image of the landscape
Besides being a sculptural, performative project, River Scene is also an exploration of the stories of the local population and their lives alongside the river, the managers of the National Park, the founders of Archstoyanie Festivals and the cultural entrepreneurs of Archpolis. The various stories and knowledge provide an impression of this unique natural landscape, of its significance for the people who live there, and how it is a source of inspiration for the cultural entrepreneurs who are going to develop the area. This material forms the basis of the video taken during the trip with the raft on the river.


The journey
The raft was built in Plyskova and arrived in Zvizanka after a journey of two and a half days. There, on a hill overlooking the river Ugra, the raft was converted into a theatre. Props and costumes were designed and made by school children from the area. The song was performed two times during the Archstoyanie Festival (26–28 July 2013).

Coming Soon: Moscow Biennale
The River Scene project will also be presented during the Moscow Biennale (19 September 2013 – 20 October 2013) in the Zil Cultural Centre in Moscow. The theatre will be re-assembled here and the film documenting the journey will be displayed.

This project is part of the AIR Zvizzchi programme, organised by the Association of Cultural Managers. River Scene is supported by the Netherlands Russia Year 2013 and the Mondriaan Fund