“It is a place that allows you to be in process, to test and to fail”
After eight years working as a costume designer in London, Annike Flo decided she was ready for her personal master project in scenography at Norwegian Theatre Academy.
Scenographer in action: Before she started her master studies in scenography at NTA, Annike Flo worked as a costume designer in London. (Foto: Claudia Lucacel)
- I wanted to go back into education to get the chance to read deeper into issues I was interested in, and have the chance to work artistically with these. I applied to NTA as it was more open than other theatre programs, and didn’t expect you to work with scenography in a traditional manner. When I did my costume course I learned costume not as a concept driver, but as someone who would follow directions from directors, music or texts. NTA gave me a freedom to move away from this and really experiment.
Annike discovered NTA through the Prague Quadrennial in 2015, and applied the following year to the master program in scenography.
Next application deadline for the MA Scenography program is December 1 this year.
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How did a typical day look like for a scenography master student at NTA?
- I don’t think there is any typical day at all, as there’s a lot of different workshops and different places where you do these. This can be anything from one-to-one session with a tutor about texts you are reading for your MA project, workshops with a visiting artist and sessions on scenography theory. The classes at NTA are small so you get a lot of time with tutors and your fellow students. A constant I would say is critical thinking and discussions across classes, facilitated by for example Tuesday lectures, workshops, or seeing each others productions.
What was you master project at NTA?
- My MA project was inspired by thinkers such as Donna Haraway and Anna Tsing. My main question that I still work with is how does one create in the Anthropocene? How does moving into a human created epoch change making art, making theatre? My project investigated what happens when we try to shift our perception of other beings, toward collaboration partner and kin instead of stranger, prop or material to manipulate. The result was a performative experiment devising scenography with the oystermushroom as collaboration partner. I collaborated with Vitenparken Campus Ås, and my site was a disused root cellar, lent to me by the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU).
"It is an open minded program where you get to challenge what scenography and theatre is and can do."
Annike Flo, scenographer and former NTA master student
As an alumni, how are the things you learned at NTA useful to you?
- For me having the experience of doing my own and very personal master project has really helped when graduating. From using writing as a tool next to sketching and model making, to having a longer process that allowed me to think more conceptually about what scenography is and can be. I have also continued working with other students from NTA, both bachelor and master students.
Why would you recommend others to apply for this study program?
- It is an open minded program where you get to challenge what scenography and theatre is and can do. It is a place that allows you to be in process, to test and to fail, which I have been very grateful for.
What project are you working on at the moment?
I am in the middle of a follow-up piece from my master project called cocreat:e:ures: s h i f t. This is about giving space to the microbes that are already occupying the space the work happens in, but that we normally do not see. The room becomes a place of encounter between microorganisms and visiting humans. I’ve made special furniture to host the microorganisms and people. I am collaborating with two microbiology specialists to keep it safe, and to identify the different species. I am also collaborating with NTA alumnis Mari Pitkanen and Ragni Halle. Next to this I am working at Vitenparken campus Ås as artistic project leader for Norwegian BioArt Arena (NOBA).