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Xristina Penna

The installation “Attempts on Margarita (multiple drafts)” by Xristina Penna (+ aswespeakproject) consists of pre-recorded voices of participants who answer the same set of questions regarding a female called Margarita. These pre-recorded voices are combined with live recordings to create Margarita’s profile over a period of three hours. The audience-participants visiting the installation are free to enter and move around the space, occupying different positions and observing the progress of the installation from multiple perspectives. They can, for example, choose to go into a tunnel and use a headset or sit in a tent, etc.

This work by Xristina Penna is part of the artist’s practice as research for her doctoral thesis in which several artists, such as Ben Eyes (sound design), Jessica Carlberg (performance), Lucy Steggals (visual intervention), Liv Bradbury (performance), Katherine Graham (light design), Alaena Turner and Esther Collins, have participated. The installation was first presented at the Stage@Leeds of the University of Leeds on 26 February 2015.

Xristina Penna is a scenographer-artist and a PhD candidate at the University of Leeds (School of Performance and Cultural Industries). She holds a Master’s degree in Scenography from the Central St Martin’s College of Art and Design, London, where she studied on a scholarship from the Onassis Foundation. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree from the Faculty of Fine Arts of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

Her work on scenography and the performing arts focuses on scenographic processes and reception and the theoretical study and research of scenography. This is the context in which the aswespeakproject was created in 2008. The main objective of the aswespeakproject is to achieve interdisciplinary collaboration and produce artistically experimental and innovative performance installations through the application of new scenography technologies in which cognitive science intertwines with scenographic practice. The installations feature the use of multimedia and perceive the theatre space as a spatial and temporal performance of the human brain/conscience.

As a scenographer, in her practice Xristina Penna focuses on the creation of stage contraptions and hybrid environments which -with the use of technology- explore the relationship between the audience and stage contraptions. The work spaces of the aswespeakproject are based on the transformation and alteration the performance space undergoes as part of the interaction between the performer and the performance environment.