This is the special section that Arshake dedicates to BACKSTAGE / ONSTAGE, a multimedia editorial project created by a group of selected students from the Rome Fine Arts Academy. Since 2018, these students have followed and documented the DIGITALIVE events throughout all the preparatory stages, from behind the scene to the first day on stage. This is a section dedicated to algorithmic performing art and curated by Federica Patti as part of the Romaeuropa Festival, one of the most important international events, bringing excellence in theatre, dance, performance and music to Rome every year, in close contact with the most diverse realities to be found in the Rome area.

For the Romaeuropa Festival 2020 edition, “Con Tatto” (“ConTact”, which in Italian is a play on words: “con” meaning “with” and “tact” meaning “touch”), which is taking place in a historical moment characterised by a pandemic, the online extension of this section – like some others in the Festival – has allowed for the inclusion of artists who have creatively inhabited the online space for years. This has given students the opportunity to imagine and create a special version of BACKSTAGE/ONSTAGE: Back Onl(y)ne. Together with the artists and their works, the focus is directed at the locations and the different ways of enjoying the artworks online, moving between analog and virtual.  The lockdown and the isolation imposed by COVID-19 has led the whole world to manage work, study, relationships, art and social relations via the virtual space. The experience of following an event like DIGITALIVE online has become an opportunity to reflect on new conditions of usage and communication. Texts, photographs and videos detail an aspect of this new way of seeing and listening to performances which is largely hidden, taking place in front of a screen and in an incredible variety of spaces and moments.

The development of the project has taken up the challenge, expressed in the title, CONTATTO, of this edition of the Romaeuropa Festival, and has been carried out in ‘close collaboration at a distance’, fully experiencing and making visible the online dimension and condition, in whose genetic code isolation and community coexist.

BACKSTAGE / ONSTAGE continues in this new form. Here, from 2018-2019, the history of the artists and artworks, the students’ experience behind the scenes and the relationship with the audience during the shows, have been collected in this multimedia editorial project. Texts, graphics, photos and videos have become the memory of the privileged look of those who were able to experience the production of each work as well as the organisation of the event, thanks also to the generosity with which the Romaeuropa Festival and Federica Patti shared each phase of the work with the students, all narrated by the voices of the different professionals involved: from communication to staging and putting on the live events.

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