Ralf Richardt Strøbech
An architect’s eye seeks the drama of the performance space.
Hotel Pro Forma’s architect sees little difference between designing buildings and designing productions. Ralf Richardt Strøbech, co-artistic director for the Danish art and performance company Hotel Pro Forma, lists similarities; designing, finding technical solutions and communicating with carpenters, electricians and other co-creators. The major difference is the theatre’s frontal nature, that it is viewed by a spectator standing on the outside, looking from one direction. Perhaps that is why Hotel Pro Forma’s work attracted Strøbech, a nomadic theatre, always moving, examining reality from every angle.
Born in 1973, Ralf first became aware of Kirsten Delholm’s work when he, as a child, saw performances of Billedstofteatret. When Kirsten in 1985 went on to form Hotel Pro Forma, Strøbech continued to follow the work. Ten years later, this student of music, film and architecture participated in Hotel Pro Forma’s performance “Operation:Orfeo”. He sang in the choir. Upon graduation from the Academy of Art he wrote to Kristen Delholm and began to work with Hotel Pro Forma in 2004, first as collaborating architect, becoming co artistic director in 2006.
“I actually can’t say it was a leap from architecture to theatre”, explains Strøbech. “At the school of architecture I was never one to make very rational propositions, I was rather working in the field that was named (somewhat derogatorily) “gallery architecture”, questioning basic concepts of space, time and body through drawing, installation, sculpture and models.” Hotel Pro Forma’s work is seldom performed on theatre stages. The group seeks architecturally interesting spaces, both indoors and outside. Strøbech, with a fascination for transit halls, train stations, airports and hotels, sees the performance space as another actor.
“We do a great deal of city planning, mostly as artistic collaborators…it is very good to combine that kind of thinking with our development processes for the performances.”
In “The Algebra of Space”, a performance examining the oriental or Islamic world, Hotel Pro Forma used a tower in Copenhagen, a nine storey spiral staircase. A musical performance using calligraphy, projections and Danish and Arabic performing guests, the performance seeks through poetry and visual image to create an understanding of political perspectives. Strøbech researched the play for over a year. The spectator views the performance from above in this vertical version. A horizontal version was produced later the same year, utilising another perspective to view the same performance.
Author: Edward Buffalo Bromberg
Ralf Richardt Strøbech was educated at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts School of Architecture and studied music and film at Copenhagen University. As architect and artistic director of Hotel Pro Forma he develops performance concepts, exhibitions, architectural projects, creates graphic renderings and holds lectures and workshops.
2007 "The Sand Child" Hotel Pro Forma
2007 "On the City as Stage, the stage as city" - workshop, Copenhagen
2007 City planning bid, Kobmageregade, Copenhagen
2007 City planning bid, Isrels Plads, Copenhagen
2006 "on art and science" workshop Fabricca Europa
2006 "The Algebra of Place" Hotel Pro Forma; concept, installation, direction, film animation and graphic design
2006 City planning, King´s Garden, Odense
2005 "I only appear to be dead" Hotel Pro Forma;set design, graphic design, visual and musical dramaturgy
2005 "The anatomy of the moment" lecture - Royal Academy of Fine Arts School of Architecture
2004 "Theremin", Hotel Pro Forma;graphic design and video animation
2004 City Planning, City of Kolding, Denmark
2004 Architectural installation bid to Deloitte´s new headquarters, Copenhagen
2006 Artistic director Hotel Pro Forma
2004 Architect and artistic partner, Hotel Pro Forma
2003 Royal Academy of Fine Arts School of Architecture, Copenhagen
2002 Ècole ´d Architecture, Paris - Belleville
1996 Bachelor of Arts Music and Film Studies, University of Copenhagen.
This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the culturebase.net partner institutions.
The SEAS Platform 2008-2010
(02 December 05 - 31 December 10)