The project “Pim Pam” which Roger Bernat is to present at the Bienal, is inspired by his experience as a visitor and participant in different festivals and biennials, especially at the Bienal de São Paulo, where he has observed that it is an event with a diverse audience with a large number of children. In the eyes of Roger Bernat, this “captive audience” involuntarily becomes a fundamental part of the visitor’s experience, and he proposes producing a play that erases the barrier that is often established between the audience and the play, between subject and object.
The proposal “Pim Pam” is a participative performance experienced through a pair of headphones. It is conceptualised so that it may take place in any exhibition space. Each child receives a pair of wireless headphones and when there is a group of around 40 children, the show begins. No adults are accompanying them. They will visit the space (or the different spaces that are there) guided only by the headphones and each headset emits different instructions that the children then follow (some will go to the right, some to the left, some will only watch, others will lie down on the ground...) wanting to create and reproduce different movements and different reactions. The children are usually unseen spectators in any museum, and, at the same time, a priority for any cultural policy; they exercise the power of invisibility or the advantage of observing those who observe. The headphones invite them to focus on the onlooking adults. He wants the children to be the ones who have the privilege of being spectators of the spectators.
Roger Bernat is a Catalan playwright born in Barcelona in 1968. He began his training in the field of architecture and, from there, began to become interested in theatre. He studied Direction and Playwriting at the Institut del Teatre in Barcelona, graduating with a distinction in 1996. In 1997, he founded General Elèctrica with Tomàs Aragay, among others, a Creative Centre for Theatre and Dance.
His plays have been characterised as participative or immersive theatre. In 2017, he took part in Documenta 14, the visual arts event that is considered to be “the Olympics” of contemporary art, which takes place every 5 years, with the play The place of the Thing. In 2020, in the middle of lockdown due to Covid-19, he launched the site Teatre Lliure with ENA, a machine for making theatre using artificial intelligence with the collaboration of the pair of digital artists Varvara&Mar.
Roger Bernat is a multidisciplinary artist who, despite receiving training as a playwright, has generated a great amount of interest in the world of visual arts. Roger Bernat’s work is featured by critics and leading galleries such as the MACBA. The most important biennials of the world have expressed an interest in his works, among them the Bienal de São Paulo, considered the second most important visual arts event in the world after the Biennale di Venezia. No other Catalan creator not from the sector of visual arts has generated such interest in the art biennials sector.
34th Bienal de São Paulo: “Though it’s dark, I still sing”
The 34th Bienal de São Paulo will take place from 4 September until 5 December under the slogan of “Though it’s dark, I still sing”, seeking to defend the right to complexity and opacity in artistic and cultural expression, as well as in the identities of subjects and social groups themselves.
The São Paulo Biennial Foundation is a private non-profit institution founded on 8 May 1962. It is a foundation that wishes to innovate, stimulate debate and educate views with concerns, proposals and questions that are constantly being renewed. It is an institution that generates, conceptualises and puts into practice artistic, educational and social initiatives. As well as celebrating the event that moves the art world every two years, their activities fill an emblematic pavilion of modern Brazilian architecture and they run projects inside and outside of its country.
The institution also has a historical archive about modern and contemporary art that is a reference point in Latin America. Their projects aim to democratise access to culture and stimulate interest in artistic creation.