In November 2016 Verdensteatret returned to the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, a location they had first visited 10 years ago, to begin research on a new work that premieres at Ultima: Oslo Contemporary Music Festival on September 8, 2017. Described as a series of elaborate audio-visual compositions — generated via an electronic feedback system — Verdensteatret turns its focus to ideas about repetition, memory, attention fatigue, and the way physical objects affect their surroundings over extremely long geological time-spans.
Verdensteatret has often built its pieces from “raw” materials collected during journeys and encounters with foreign landscapes. For example, the company created Tsalal (2001-2002) from a trip to Odessa and Istanbul, Concert for Greenland (2003) engaged the harsh and majestic landscapes of Greenland and other north-Atlantic islands, and Louder (2007) was created after a journey to Vietnam. With this new work the company continues its preoccupation with travel bringing together disparate materials, rhythms, and practices to create uncanny spaces that are as unsettling as they are beautiful: HD drone footage from the Mekong River and generative video, electro-mechanical instruments made from recycled organ parts, resonating scrap metal, robotically controlled feather dusters, yellow felt and much more.
Verdensteatret was founded by Lisbeth Bodd in 1986 and is recognized as one of the leading Norwegian art collectives, known for its surprising uses of new and old technologies in the making of contemporary theater, performance, and art. Verdensteatret’s works are presented internationally in a variety of contexts, including galleries, music festivals, and theaters. Based in Oslo and led by Asle Nilsen, Piotr Pajchel, and Eirik Blekesaune, Verdensteatret has strong ties to the European, especially German, theatrical tradition that includes Brecht, Walter Benjamin, and Heiner Müller. Following experiments in fields such as visual performance, environmental theater, and text-based theater, the group has recently tended toward the ambitiously interdisciplinary.
Today, Verdensteatret consists of video artists, computer programmers, performers, sound artists, musicians, sculptors, painters, and poets. They have developed a unique, complex, and intricate audiovisual style, where sound spaces inhabit sculptural scenography, and tell stories about the fragility of the human soul. They describe what they do as a ”telling orchestra,” one that performs compositions in the “movable room genre.” Established notions of form or style about performance art cannot adequately grasp their peculiarly captivating and unique work.
Verdensteatret is supported by the Arts Council Norway.