lunedì 17 novembre 2014

Interview with Enrico Bettinello (Teatro Fondamenta Nuove's Leader) by Andrea Aguzzi

Since 2003, the Teatro Fondamenta Nuove in Venice is managed by the Cultural Association Vortice The Vortice Association is active since 1998 in the city, especially for music activities, organizing events like “Risonanze” ("Resonance") and “La Costruzione del Suono” ("The Construction of Sound") and carving out a central role in the proposal for a contemporary arts through different sounds and music experiences, from jazz to avant-garde rock, from electronics to musical theater, exploring the relationships with other disciplines and multimedia. The music program, which in the past has often found its place in the space of the Teatro Fondamenta Nuove, is the initial “backbone” of the project management, even if in the intentions of the Association there is the strong will to use the theater as a space, a "place" for productions and shows that also include other forms of art, dance [for which the theater was originally designed with the decennial activities organized by Gennaro Labanca] theater and also seminars, workshops, conferences becoming a possibile cultural model for the city and its creative potential. Located right at the end of the Fondamenta Nuove, overlooking the north of the lagoon, the theater - with a fascinating structure built with bricks and woods - can accommodate up to 200 spectators.

This Interview was made in April 2009

What’s the history of this theater? From how much time is operative for the Venetian cultural events?

The Theater is active from the first half of the nineties and was "born" as a stage for dance, but years after years it’s been increasingly characterizing itself as a "place" for contemporary art in a city where, Biennale excluded, doens’t give so many opportunities for comparison for these kind of events. After having organized several nice concerts at the Theater, since 2003 the Association Vortice directly manages the “place” and has found in these recent years a central role in the Venetian cultural landscape.

What are its main characteristics? What shall you offer to the artists, whether they are engaged in dance, theater, music or multimedia?

The theater has a very simple and "post industrial" structure, with a rectangular plan and a big stage: the characteristics are the brick walls, which often fascinate artists and companies, which create a set with a simple design but with great emotional impact. The technical department, which is managed by a high quality staff, has a wide technical sheet [yuo can read it on our website], and of course, allows artists many very different technical possibilities, even if compatible with the space of the stage. How many people work for the theater’s organization? There is an organizational staff of four people, plus interns and external collaborators, while the technical department has, in addition to the managment, a variable number of people with different expertise [lights, sound, set design, drivers ...]
How is made your events organization? What’s more important for you?

Originally both Massimo Ongaro - who was director until the spring of 2008 - and I come from interest and professional fields related to music and the work of Vortice was born with "Risonanze" events, which is still the pride of our programming. In later years we expanded to dance and theater, creating a program where different and various proposals permit a fascinating journey into contemporary culture. Currently the season is made, along with "Resonance", by "danzedautunno" - in collaboration with Arteven - and "Movimenti – gesti di teatro necessario", in collaboration with OperaEstate Festival from Bassano, but also by appointments like "Resi / dance "," Happy New Ears "at New Year Day and so on. Over the years, the emphasis is increasing between the interaction between all these paths, the possibilities of residence and network that the presence of the artists can create.
What’s people reaction to yours events? I personally have seen several concerts here over the years and have always found the theater sold out, even if the proposals were not .. so easy...

About the music, we have built an audience over the years and I can say with pride that "Risonanze" got an European dimension [ Wire speaks about us, etc.] people who comes to our theater knows that pur quality is high, which in contemporany art is very important. We have, in addition to fans of dance and contemporary theater, a large public of university students, very curious about new linguistic and expressive experiences. I shall say that the public reacts in different ways, it pay a lot of attentino and it’s always respectful, even if they can develop their own opinion and this is for us a great result, we live in a era of or great indifference or blind and enthusiastic cult to everything is sold the “cult’s” logo.

Since 2003, Risonanze and La Costruzione del Suono have joined the Theater, would you like to talk us about these two historical events? I was still a university student when I went to hear their concerts to IUAV and they were always nice experience .... perhaps we met in one of those occasions ...

As I mentioned, "Risonanze" was born before we get the Theater’s managment, we worked inside the IUAV and we felt it was natural to find a "home" that would ensure continuity and development. riguarda La Costruzione del Suono, developing a roadmap artistic workshop about music and new technologies, was linked to the Centro Culturale Candiani and it had, in spite of what it was maybe perceived today [perhaps because the place did not have at those times of a great benefit from the public] a great success, with concerts of artists like Mouse on Mars or Otomo Yoshihide, but also seminars with students who have called from all over Europe. There is no doubt that in many “Risonanze”’s proposals we can find tension and the reflections of that experience.

How do you think that this global economic crisis will hit with the Theater’s programming? Are there any warning signs from sponsors?

The situation is difficult in any industry and culture among those is the who suffer most, although, paradoxically, I think this is precisely the time to push, because only from culture can be sent inputs to change, grow, compete. The Council for Cultural Production of the Municipality, as well as that of the Province, over the years have shown great sensitivity in supporting our work: clearly the crisis greatly affects the municipality funds, but I hope that throught a costant dialogue with our interlocutors, we can find together the ways to not bring down the quality and the numbers of our projects.

What’s your opinion about the market crisis of the discografic industry with the transition from digital downloading in mp3 and all this new scenario?

This is a question that would require long and not easy answer: let’s say that the crisis now appears to me as inevitable and perhaps that we should have been able to notice that before. Let's say you shall have a chat with a 18 years old boy to see the end of years of beliefs: music as we have conceived it, in terms of an object, myth, religion, will no longer exist. New technologies, such as in the past with other revolutions, are always a challenge and I am eager to dive into what they bring. The market for CDs, as well as that of vinyl, will be quickly and progressively marginalized, but not eliminated. The music still needs to remove a series of old behaviours that, in good or bad faith, plague her.

What have to do an artist that would like to play in the Theater?? What do you ask to the artists?

We get dozens of proposals each week, of all types, from the most inaccessible rockstar to the impossibile block of flats’singer! Over the years We have developed a network of relationships of hight trust and quality, as well as an our artistic profile, but we are always curious to hear new things. Those interested can send a CD to our address found on the web. By artists I ever expect to be surprised, I do not like much those who do not take risks and unfortunately this happens more often than many people think, even in the most talented musicians.

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