Exhibition "90 years of the Salzburg Festival"

"The Great World Theatre"

In 2010, the Salzburg Festival celebrated its 90th anniversary. A traditional style exhibition with panels, objects and models seemed inadequate for presenting the sheer variety of artistic brilliance. Consequently, the displays and texts were "fanned out" to reflect the scope of the Festival's history. Soundtracks and spoken excerpts from key documents in the history of the Salzburg Festival became generators of exhibition areas, which then carried the content in the form of timber "ribs". As a result, the history of the Salzburg Festival was physically brought into the room: visitors could not only view the events but move around in them. The timber “ribs” were connected by a timeline that traced the development of the Salzburg Festival over the decades. In this way it was possible to present not only individual personalities and their work but also the connections to political and social events, and the ambiguities, caesuras and continuities that shaped and still shape the Festival. The individual exhibits were placed on the surfaces of the "ribs", thereby freeing them from the restraints of the traditional, two-dimensional form of presentation. This created "windows", opening up views into 90 years of Salzburg Festival history. Costumes and an "Everyman" installation protruded out of the "ribs" into the surrounding space and across the visitors' path. The high point and grand finale of the tour was the central installation of the "World Stage" - a stylised stage with multimedia features. The media installation " The Great World Theatre" was a "meta-performance" distilled out of the leading productions of the last nine decades and reassembled into a new presentation. The stage was an abstract model, quoting and replicating all the stages and venues of the Festival, quite in the spirit of Max Reinhardt's motto, "The city as stage". The projection was devised using the so-called "augmented reality" approach: the projectors were focused onto the model, capturing its form pixel by pixel. A different video could be played on each of the model's 22 surfaces arranged on the stage area.