Cena#1: Marketa Fantova (Czech Republic)

Performance Design unlabeled

Markéta Fantová


We shouldn’t try so hard to prescribe, intellectualize, sort and label what are the exact components of performance design. Openness and freedom is what encourages new ideas…

There seem to be many attempts to bring on new and original work by rejecting and deconstructing the old practices. Rejection and intellectualization creates limits that are unnecessary.  The more we try to get out of the box this way, the more we are finding ourselves boxed in.

Instead, we should consider ourselves very lucky to have an opportunity to realize our dreams, watch them materialize and disappear, with only memories and few artifacts left. We create moments to share with our generations, temporal worlds; emotional capsules measured by a qualitative mind clock not the quantitative one dividing our lives into seconds.  If we work with outmost honesty, we are never bored, constantly searching for solutions, ideas and inspiration.

We are pushed by the urge to share something important with others, search for the deeper meanings, surf the edge between the rational and irrational, emotional and logical, bring the glimpses of the far corners of our human imagination, blur the boundary between reality and the imagined. And above all we strive to create a universe in which the performer and the audience can live through an experience together. A universe with inner laws and inner logic, that has endless possibilities of bringing the unexpected. We look through the lens of here and now, bring past moments and the future into the immediate present, touching on current events, situations, things that move us and bring on changes.

What kills our work is routine, empty repetition of the same steps, inability to listen and connect with others. Our work fails when the viewers, the performers, we humans feel nothing, when there is no emotional impact, when we fail to bring on any level of a visceral excitement.

The work of design for performance can be done in theatre, public space, or in the middle of a lake. Design for performance can use any approach, discipline, or technology, from painting, sculpture, architecture, to building a space out of sound or light alone. There are no boundaries, other than the ones we make for ourselves and the only limits are our fears…


Markéta Fantová, Czech Republic, was born in Prague, is a scenic, lighting and costume designer for theatre, dance, and performance art. She has worked in theatres, galleries and visually inspiring sites in both the United States and Europe. In June 2015 Marketa led the USITT-USA team as the curator of the US National and Student exhibits for the 2015 Prague Quadrennial and recently moved to Prague from Philadelphia, where she accepted a position of the Artistic Director of the Prague Quadrennial 2019.

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