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 and thanks to a partnership between The Rome Fine Arts Academy, Arshake, and 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 city.

In the three years between 2018 – 2020, these young artists have documented the events of DIGITALIVE, the Romaeuropa Festival special section dedicated to algorithmic performance curated by Federica Patti, by following all the preparatory stages, from behind the scene to the first day on stage. 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.

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 took 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. 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. In 2021 the AUDIENCE is ON STAGE. The 2021 edition, titled AUDIENCE ON STAGE, has moved its focus on the spectators, their behaviour and way of relating to the performances, their interest and the effect that this produces. The survey was carried out transversally, covering the different performance genres at the festival, from dance to drama and music.  AUDIENCE ON STAGE examined the entrances, lobbies and corridors of theatres, stalls, boxes, mobile phones and online event screens, searching for the gaze of the so-called emancipated spectator, i.e. he or she who finds a new kind of contact and closeness with others in the theatre, but also discovers a new connection with their own active existence. Now, on occasion of REF22, it is the time for the AI spectator to go online. Now, the spectator is a virtual intelligence and the spotlight is on everything that emerges from the encounter of his or her multiple personality with the mnemonic dynamics elicited by watching the show through flashbacks.

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