The Yellow Sound an unstageable composition: Technology, modernism and spaces that should-not-be

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This paper shows how the 'magic-box' aesthetics of nineteenth century stage technology were utilized by modern scenographic and technological approaches to realise Wassily Kandinsky's rarely performed abstract stage composition The Yellow Sound at Tate Modern in 2011. Performed in a glass room overlooking London, technology and scenographic approaches to space were successful in producing a complete version: with yellow giants, miniature people, flying heads, et al. This paper explores what the magic-box aesthetic was and how it was created by manipulating space through mechanical technologies in a proscenium-framed space. It explains how modern projection technologies and innovative scenographic approaches to performance in this case study can recreate its affect in a space that is very unlike a proscenium arch theatre but can still be magic.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBody, Space, Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012


  • kandinsky
  • performance aesthetics
  • performance theory
  • theatre technology
  • philosophy of technology

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