The LAFLIS (Living Archive Floating Island)
Barba is an influential figure in European theatre, and his archive documents his work as a director, actor, and founder of Odin Teatret, an international theatre company based in Denmark. By preserving and making accessible Barba’s archive, it can serve as a resource for scholars, researchers, and artists interested in the development of European theatre over the past several decades. The archive can also inspire and inform new generations of theatre practitioners, helping to continue the growth and evolution of European theatre. CarraroLAB’s role will be to ensure that the archive can serve as a cultural heritage resource for the wider public. It can help to promote understanding and appreciation of European theatre, which is an important part of Europe’s cultural heritage. Through exhibitions, public programs, and other initiatives, the archive can help to share Barba’s work and the history of European theatre with a broad audience, contributing to the growth and preservation of European cultural heritage. This will enhance the three areas in which Living Archive Floating Islands is organized:
- Memory: an archive that safeguards, catalogues and offers an inventory of historical materials.
- Transmission: a place of renewed and revitalised processing of documents, with practical training, comparative studies and didactic dissemination.
- Transformation: the material leftovers of Odin Teatret performances become a mise-en-scène. A series of installations gives the opportunity for visitors to become an active part, interacting with documents and artefacts, ensuring a new life in the visitors’ imagination.
As explicated in the next few pages, CarraroLAB will mainly engage in the implementation of the last point.
The LAFLIS (Living Archive Floating Island) of Odin Teatret summarizes the main contents of the historical archive, focusing on some aspects of general interest regarding Eugenio Barba’s Theater Anthropology.
On July 19th, 2022, Regione Puglia in Italy sanctioned the birth of a cultural partnership with Fondazione Barba Varley aimed at promoting, researching and studying the history of Odin Teatret, the Third Theatre and Eugenio Barba’s life and artistic career. The partnership, which may also be extended to other private bodies and public institutions, provides for a scientific collaboration for research and teaching support, aimed at enhancing and promoting the Living Archive Floating Islands project, conceived by Eugenio Barba, which will be installed at the Bernardini Library in Lecce, Italy. A vital element of the partnership is the donation by Eugenio Barba to the Polo Biblio-Museale of the Regione Puglia of his personal library as well as of the bibliographic and documentary collections relating to his artistic experience with Odin Teatret. These documentary materials constitute a heritage of enormous cultural value as well as the testimony of one of the most significant artistic and theatrical events of the twentieth century that is still alive thanks to the vitality of its protagonist Eugenio Barba whose origin and particular inspiration stems from the Salento part of Regione Puglia. Biblioteca Bernardini shared with Eugenio Barba the decision to call Living Archive Floating Islands the space that will house the material concerning his artistic biography, Odin Teatret and the Third Theatre. They are both aware that this definition does not connote an institution but a practice: that of working on an individual and collective memory to induce visions beyond the “dictatorship of the present”. This is the purpose of the living archives: to offer the option of thinking about oneself in a future that is different from the selfdestructive one that the present economic system has devised for the world. Spore’s contribute will take the shape of a 3D website dedicated to the Odin Teatret archive, with Eugenio Barba’s commentary filmed with 360 cameras, or on a green screen. The goal is to disseminate Odin Teatret’s research with an inclusive approach, particularly targeting digital generations. This can be achived through a transformation of a historical/art archive into an online immersive space. CarraroLAB approach to the Living Archive can be summarized in the term “pervasive museum”. A pervasive museum is defined as a technological format, supported by a representational methodology and a digital platform, oriented toward the integrated enhancement of a museum and an area. The pervasive museum is based on immersive technologies, such as augmented reality and virtual reality, applicable both inside and outside a museum. This technological solution allows a new way of representation, communication and promotion of cultural heritage, making full use of digital. The ” pervasive museum” platform is extremely suitable for the enhancement of museums, palaces, sacred buildings, archaeological sites, visitor points, as well as historical centers, natural parks and tourist areas. When the object of intervention is a building, content is arranged in the various rooms in different ways, through projections, VR and AR viewers, interactive monitors, tablets and smartphones, which enhance the visitation of the place. But pervasive museum technology, due to its web-oriented nature, can go outside the museum and be enjoyed in the neighboring territory, but also globally to promote the museum itself. The pervasive museum thus exists before and outside the museum, to promote the visit, inside the museum during the visit, and again outside the museum after the visit, for viral marketing activities. In fact, immersive content can also pervade social networks. In some cases, a museum becomes a key attractor for the surrounding area. There are museums dedicated to naturalistic, food and wine, ethnographic, as well as historical and artistic themes, which offer a fundamental key to the territories that host them. For example, a museum on medieval art can collect and describe the most emblematic artifacts of a tourist area. Thanks to the pervasive museum, such artifacts can virtually return to the original context from which they were removed. But content about characters, events, and styles can also pervade the area and enrich the visit. This is through placing them at precise points outside and then activating them through markers on a signpost or through digital maps that activate GPS multimedia guides. The collaboration between the Barba Varley Foundation and CarraroLAB within SPORE will thus be apt to create a first step in the concept of the “pervasive archive.” This will mean creating a virtual place made up of multiple digital spaces. Such a place will be a “digital twin” of Carpignano, depicted from the point of view of the “baratto” that Barba undertook during his artistic stay in the country.
First, this will need a digitization of the archive’s contents, which may include photographs, artwork, documents, and other materials. It can involve scanning or photographing items and creating high-resolution digital images. So, CarraroLAB will only be able to work with materials that have been digitized from the archive, specifically those related to Carpignano’s “Barter.” Once the digitized materials are located, they need to be organized in a way that makes sense for the online immersive space. This may involve creating categories or themes, creating metadata, and organizing the materials into a cohesive structure. Our idea is to recreate a digital place, through 360 photographs taken in the town of Carpignano, in order to create a “floating island,” representing a virtual branch of the archive in the city of Lecce. This means a transiction from storytelling to spacetelling. Designing a pervasive archive implies a new conception of content and its organization, which we, in CarraroLAB, call spacetelling. As in an audioguide, the narrative is related to precise points in a museum or territory, identifiable by geographic coordinates. Unlike in a video storytelling, the narrative is not necessarily enjoyed in a sequential mode, but can be freely accessed by the visitor. This is possible thanks to the trasition of the web from a page to a three-dimensional representation. Whereas in travel guides, museum catalogs, and even websites, content is organized in two-dimensional pages, in the pervasive museum it is distributed in three-dimensional virtual environments. Such a shift from a 2D surface to a 3D space, typical of virtual and augmented reality, allows for innovative and highly immersive modes of storytelling. Once the conceptual map of the museum and territory has been designed, the production of the content can proceed. First, we will proceed with digital scans, through 360° photos on the ground and from a drone, or through 360° videos. Such 3D scans of the interior and exterior environments are both newly designed content and containers of traditional content, organized according to the logic of spacetelling. The design of the online immersive space is important to create an engaging experience for visitors. Our developers will create a user interface that will be intuitive and easy to navigate, incorporating interactive features such as virtual reality elements. Creating content for the online immersive space is also important to provide visitors with context and background information. This may involve creating written descriptions, audio or video guides, or interactive elements that provide additional information about the archive’s contents. For this reason, we believe that Barba’s voice will be ideal as a guide to navigate the virtual places. The online immersive space must be then launched and CarraroLAB will ensure that the platform is functioning properly and providing a high-quality user experience.
The archives will take place in the Biblioteca Bernardini. The genesis of the Lecce Provincial Library is linked to the personality of Sigismondo Castromediano (1811- 1895), a Salento patriot and politician. The foundation of the library dates back to March 20, 1863. Since its foundation, the specialization remains that of Salento studies: in fact, conspicuous is the number of manuscript and printed sources that interest in its various aspects (social, economic, political, institutional, cultural) the history of the territory by placing it in the context of united Italy. The holdings now include 117,000 volumes, and for the ancient part 275 parchments, 486 manuscripts, 31 incunabula, and 435 16th-century editions. The establishment of the Biblio-Museum Poles by Regione Puglia has given to Biblioteca Bernardini the opportunity to experience a different way of being both a museum and a library in contemporary society. Thus, alongside the traditional function of the preservation of knowledge, museums and libraries have turned into experimentation places implementing the establishment of a community. In the exhibition spaces of the Convitto Palmieri in Lecce, home of the Castromediano Museum and the Bernardini Library, a guided tour of the Carmelo Bene Archive-Fund has already been inaugurated in 2021. Into such cultural jubilation will be grafted Eugenio Barba’s innovative Living Archive. CarraroLAB’s role, however, is precisely that of the dissemination of Spore. The company intends to create a new exploratory virtual space in the net. That space will depict Carpignano, and will thus be its own digital twin, explorable remotely. The physical archive will thus have an additional spatial dimension in the virtual world of the Internet.
A first in-person meeting between the Barba Varley Foundation and CarraroLAB will take place between February 20th and February the 25th, 2023. Both entities will be busy viewing archival spaces and materials, specifically reasoning about the practical developments of the Living Archive. Andrea Carraro will also meet with prominent personalities from the Salento cultural scene, involved in the realization of the project, such as sociologist Emanuele Amoruso, with whom he will make an initial inspection in Carpignano, with possible 360 photographs of some places to be included in the virtual archive.
In the year 2023, CarraroLAB will keep a professional contact with Barba and Varley, keeping them updated on the progresses of the project.
Eugenio Barba is an Italian theater director and one of the leading figures in contemporary theater. Known as a student and friend of Jerzy Grotowski, founder and director of Odin Teatret, he is considered the last living Western theater master. Barba has modified the concept of the actor’s work initiated by the Polish director through a theatrical practice that brings the actor into contact with his own inner research. He is a winner of the prestigious Sonning Prize, an award given to Winston Churchill, Leonard Bernstein, Albert Schweitzer, Bertrand Russell, Niels Bohr, Alvar Aalto and Karl Popper, among others. Barba was born in Brindisi in 1936 to parents originally from Gallipoli (in the province of Lecce), where he grew up and attended school. Originally intending to pursue the same career path as his father, he enrolled, after completing his high school studies, at the Nunziatella Military School in Naples in 1954, but soon decided to abandon the purpose of a military career to devote himself to something else. n the same year he moved to Norway, where he found work as a welder and sailor. Approaching theater already during his Norwegian sojourn, in 1961 he decided to move to Poland to study theater directing at the prestigious Warsaw State Theater School, which he left, however, just over a year later to join Jerzy Grotowski’s company. When he returned to Oslo in 1964, he was firmly intent on becoming a professional theater director. He therefore opened his own personal theater workshop. He gathered a group of young people who had failed the entrance exam to the Oslo State Theatre School and with them founded Odin Teatret on October 1, 1964. In the last forty years of the twentieth century Eugenio Barba directed sixty-five productions with Odin Teatret and the Theatrum Mundi Ensemble. Eugenio Barba has been awarded honorary doctorates from the universities of Århus, Ayacucho, Bologna, Havana, Warsaw, Plymouth (UK) and the Academy of Performing Arts in Hong Kong, as well as the “Reconnaissance de Mérite scientifique” from the University of Montréal. Barba has also been awarded the Danish Academy Prize, the Mexican Theatre Critics’ Prize, the Diego Fabbri Prize, the International Pirandello Prize, the Sonning Prize from the University of Copenhagen, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Peoples and Religions Film Festival, and the Thalia Prize. In 1976 Julia Varley joined Odin Teatret in Denmark working as an actress in group, solo, indoor and street performances, all directed by Eugenio Barba. Julia Varley’s main activity to this day is to be an actress with Odin Teatret. In 2020, together with Eugenio Barba, she founded the Barba Varley Foundation to support artists in disadvantaged situations from the standpoint of race, gender, political opinion and social affiliation.
CarraroLAB will assign Andrea Carraro from its team. He’s a cultural operator with 5 years of experience in the field of contemporary art, as an artist and as a curator, 7 years of experience in the digital business with skills in 3D modeling, image editing, digital art restoration, 360 ° technology, public relations and content developing.
The Living Archive could include a wide range of people who are interested in theater and its related fields. Theater scholars and researchers who are interested in studying the history and development of contemporary theater. Theater professionals, such as actors, directors, designers, and playwrights, who are looking for inspiration or information about current trends in theater, but also students who are studying theater and want to learn more about contemporary theater and its history. Enthusiasts who are interested in attending shows, reading scripts, or learning more about the history and development of theater. Cultural institutions, such as museums, libraries, and archives, that may be interested in a creative collaboration. Journalists and writers who cover theater and want to stay up-to-date on current trends and developments. In a more practical way, it could fascinate founders and donors who are interested in supporting the arts and want to learn more about Theater Anthropology. Barba and Varley’s Living Archive could also be a meeting point between cultural heritage and tourism. In this sense it would direct the archive toward a new way of conceiving tourism as a journey into the origins and life of the “Terzo Teatro” in the world. Carpignano would represent, in this sense, a piece of a possible network of “floating islands”: virtual spaces in all places in the world that have been touched by Theatre Anthropology. Overall, the audience for the Living Archive is likely to be diverse and include a wide range of people who are interested in theater and its related fields, but also in a new experience-based tourism.
The living archive will see to adhere, as it sees fit, to the Spore license.