A Paradise Built in Hell

"Industrial Heat"

June, 2018

A collaboration with Ensemble Klang and the Design Department of KABK (Royal Academy of Art of The Hague)

Opera is a format that strongly magnifies situations that you can recognise from reality and it is exactly with this aspect of the magnifying glass that designers and composers have looked at and translated this dramatic concept A Paradise Built in Hell - after the book of social critic Rebecca Solnit, who describes the purposeful joy that fills human beings in the face of disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes and even a terrorist attack:

“These are clearly not events to be wished for, yet they bring out the best in us and provide common purpose. Everyday concerns and societal structures vanish. A strange kind of liberation fills the air. People rise to the occasion. Social alienation seems to vanish. Our response to disaster gives us nothing less than “a glimpse of who else we ourselves may be and what else our society could become... The recovery of this purpose and closeness without crisis or pressure is the great contemporary task of being human.”

A Paradise Built in Hell challenges the traditional concept of the dramatic opera format as we know it today. It opens up the opportunity for artists to experiments with alternative narrative structures, unconventional produced music (and musicians) and suggests a scenography that mimics ‘the real’ while it no longer differs from your couch-perspective; a videogame. It plays with interactive transmissions and invites you to a (virtual)-reality-walk through... Paradise? Hell?

The project has been initiated by the Graphic Design department of the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (KABK) in the context of the KABK IST Research Lab SOUNDSCAPE 2018/2019.