David Vivian

Faculty of Humanities

David Vivian

Rank: Assistant Professor
Department: Dramatic Arts
Ext: 4401
E-mail: dvivian@brocku.ca

Work currently in progress, or about to be begun, along with indication of when the project is likely to culminate and what form it will take:
David's professional, research and teaching interests pursue the further exploration of theatrical performance (un)realities and virtual digital culture, in collaboration with local projects of mapping, music, and the articulation of space and rhythm in real-life performance, to create a living document of both local cultural production and scenographic intensities.

His work as a scenographer – the conception, realization, and transmission of space (time and place) for theatrical performance - is explicitly linked to the exploration of new possibilities for both the performance of space and the communication of the residue of the space/time/event for the purposes of wider dissemination of the information of the experience after the termination of the original event.

The initiative to explore and develop strategies for the capture and retransmission of the performance event is germane to the development of the architecture theoretical, experiential, and technological – the primary work of a scenographer. The milieu of theatre is to a large extent re-performing and training in technologies that are no more modern than the late 19 th c. Specific projects are leading a new development in the application of digital technologies to theatre. There continues however to be limited development of the intelligent application of newer technologies to the learning invoked by the experience of the theatre event.

These creative enquiries also correlate to the present research and development of virtual memory Theatres, where research focuses upon the strategies of experience of knowledge in virtual constructed environments that have their root in the phenomenological model of Memory Theatres that back to classical Antiquity.

Current projects include the preparation for the development of an arts documentation centre, conceived to sustain innovative concepts, methods and conventions for the documentation of three dimensional, time-based, performative and new media artwork. This will involve both the synthesis of a broad and diffuse theoretical ecology around the notions of documentation technology and performance and an integrated analysis of the materials and frameworks necessary to support such an endeavour.


Notions of virtuality, ephemerality, and performativity are integral to contemporary artisticproduction - a reality which bears significantly on issues around documentation. There aresignificant artworks exhibited and performed every day that go wanting for an adequate documentationthat can be used for the purposes of curation, academic research, teaching and dissemination ofcultural production in the cultural community both in Canada and internationally. Without a timely capture, for example, of both the moment and the residue, many of these objects are at risk of being forgotten and poorly theorized.

As a result, there is a powerful need for the development of new conventions, methodologies, and discourses for capturing ephemeral and unstable media through hybrid approaches to photograph,video, simulation and recording in rich and multiple ways, instances of performance art, sculpture,installation art works, new media environments, interactive art works, as well as theatre works, and musical and dance performances.

Dissemination and Application of the Research

As a convener of the Scenography Working Group of the IFTR (International Federation of Theatre Research) David would present the work of the research project at the international colloquia run by both this group and the larger organization. This material would also be of immense interest to the working group in Scenography as well as the new proposed working group in Digital Technologies, Visualisation and New Media in Performance. The next conference will be held in Helsinki in 06, then subsequently in Prague in 07, where David is one of two Canadian Education Commissioners responsible for the participation of Canadian centres of training in Scenography (Conservatories, Colleges and Universities) for the 11 th International Exhibition of Scenography and Theatre Architecture, known as the Prague Quadrennial.

The project team is multi-disciplinary. This project is constructed such that the team members and their colleagues at the School of Fine and Performing Arts may participate in the work of this project to the strengths of their specific media of practice. Project leaders (David Vivian, Lead Researcher) envisage an internal dissemination of this research to all members of the SFPA faculty.

The information and knowledge generated by this research project about current practice in the documentation of cultural production and the conceptual implications to the study of contemporary art and performance will frame future proposals for the establishment of a documentation centre /network at Brock University, for further development of Project Partners – both internal and external, and to initiate the development of a research network for research in documentation across the country.

Work previously undertaken, research achievements or projects completed:
Our Country's Good ( byTimberlake Wertenbaker; David Fancy, Director)
Sean O'Sullivan Theatre, Department of Dramatic Arts at Brock University. 2005
(set and costume designs)

Tenko (by Zeami Motokiyo; Jane Leavitt, Director) (Noh Theatre)
Sean O'Sullivan Theatre, Department of Dramatic Arts at Brock University . 2005
(set and costume designs)

Arthur Miller's The Crucible in an Age of Terror (Gyllian Raby, Director)
Sean O'Sullivan Theatre, Department of Dramatic Arts at Brock University . 2004
(set and costume designs)

Slicing Static (Victor Quijada, Choreographer),
Rubberbandance Group at Usine ‘C', Montréal, Québec. 2004
(set design for workshop development)

En Manque (Crave, by Sarah Kane; Stacey Christodoulou, Director)
The Other Theatre Company (at Montréal, Arts Interculturels), Montréal , Québec. 2003-04
(set design, new fr. language world premiere)

La Leçon (d`Ionesco; Oleg Kisseliov, Director),
Créations Diving Horse (at Théâtre La Chapelle), Montréal, Québec. 2000-03
(set and costume designs)

Carlos in Therapy (Stacey Christodoulou, Director)
The Other Theatre Company (at Théâtre Prospero), Montréal , Québec. 2001(set and costume designs, world premiere)


The Stage and the Visual Arts: Past, Present, and Future , International Conference on Scenography, Scenography Working Group, International Federation of Theatre Research/FIRT, University of Amsterdam , The Netherlands . Co-convener 2005

Patronage, Spectacle and the Stage , International Conference on Scenography, Scenography Working Group, IFTR/FIRT, Theatre Institute, Prague, CZ
Co-convener 2003

Prague Quadrennial for Scenography , Theatre Institute/OISTAT, Prague , CZ
Participant 2003

Theatre and Cultural Memory: The Event between Past and Future , 14th World Congress of the IFTR /FIRT, at the University of Amsterdam , The Netherlands
Participant 2002

Areas of Research Interest (in brief):
Theatre, Drama
Multidisciplinary and Interdisciplinary Arts