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Around the PQ – Bethlehem Chapel and the Student Section of International Exhibits

Off of Betlémské náměstí (Bethlehem Square) near the Naprstek Museum, is the Bethlehem Chapel Lapidarium, housing the student section of the international exhibits.

This space is easier to miss than most. It is accessed through an unobtrusive, dark doorway inside a courtyard. Immediately inside the door, a curved stone staircase plunges downward.

There are no signs telling you what you will find down here.   It is just an open door. Photo: Matt Kizer
There are no signs telling you what you will find down here. It is just an open door. Photo: Matt Kizer
You take a few turns and a few staircases to get where you are going, and it has the distinct feeling of a medieval dungeon.    Photo credit:  Maundy Mitchell Photography
You take a few turns and a few staircases to get where you are going, and it has the distinct feeling of a medieval dungeon. Photo credit: Maundy Mitchell Photography
This arch leads (finally) into the Student Section.  Photo by  Matt Kizer
This arch leads (finally) into the Student Section. Photo by Matt Kizer

 

Many of the exhibits present are displayed in the gallery on the PQ website.  However, the actual ambiance of this site can really only be felt by standing in it.    Centuries old stonework oozes and pushes up from the floor, and in from the walls all throughout the space.   The chapel was originally built in 1391. Photo credit: Maundy Mitchell Photography
Many of the exhibits present are displayed in the gallery on the PQ website. However, the actual ambiance of this site can really only be felt by standing in it. Centuries old stonework oozes and pushes up from the floor, and in from the walls all throughout the space. The chapel was originally built in 1391. Photo credit: Maundy Mitchell Photography
Title: Seal- in the Moment (Israel).  "The inside of glass jars depict sealed-in moments which reflect our Israeli experience. Each student has sealed up a personal moment which reveals their view of Israeli Society."     Students have filled and modified these jars as metaphors for their pasts, including their memories, their upbringing, and their family origins. Photo credit:  Maundy Mitchell Photogaphy
Title: Seal- in the Moment (Israel). “The inside of glass jars depict sealed-in moments which reflect our Israeli experience. Each student has sealed up a personal moment which reveals their view of Israeli Society.” Students have filled and modified these jars as metaphors for their pasts, including their memories, their upbringing, and their family origins. Photo credit: Maundy Mitchell Photogaphy

These exhibits benefit from the environment around them.  They are more primal and immediate surrounded by the stone and the history of the chapel.

 

Photo credit: Maundy Mitchell Photography
Photo credit: Maundy Mitchell Photography
Portuguese students modified shipping boxes, and displayed them inside of lockers.  Each box was modified in reaction to a poem given to the student.    To see into the lockers, participants must borrow a key. Photo credit:  Maundy Mitchell Photography
Portuguese students modified shipping boxes, and displayed them inside of lockers. Each box was modified in reaction to a poem given to the student. To see into the lockers, participants must borrow a key.
Photo credit: Maundy Mitchell Photography
The United Kingdom brought a mock security booth to defend the exhibit hall.    This one is a favorite of mine.     Photo credit:  Maundy Mitchell Photography
The United Kingdom brought a mock security booth to defend the exhibit hall. This one is a favorite of mine. Photo credit: Maundy Mitchell Photography
Belarus presents a whimsical installation with required slippers and a bicycle that is not a pipe.   Photo credit: Maundy Mitchell
Belarus presents a whimsical installation with required slippers and a bicycle that is not a pipe.
Photo credit: Maundy Mitchell
The Republic of Korea.Photo credit: Maundy Mitchell
The Republic of Korea.
Photo credit: Maundy Mitchell
There is a vending machine that dispenses clear plastic balls.   Each one delivers a weather symbol, that can be exchanged for a wrapped present. Photo by Matt Kizer
There is a vending machine that dispenses clear plastic balls. Each one delivers a weather symbol, that can be exchanged for a wrapped present.
Photo by Matt Kizer
Photo credit:  Maundy Mitchell Photography
Photo credit: Maundy Mitchell Photography
Photo Credit:  Maundy Mitchell Photography
Photo Credit: Maundy Mitchell Photography

Without question, however, my absolute favorite installation here is Silent Storm, by the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia.  It is the least visual installation in most ways of anything in the space.  It is a tight maze made entirely out of old-fashioned thunder-sheets.

If you are not acquainted with that term, a thunder-sheet is a large sheet of tin or similar metal, with a wooden slat for hanging at the top.   When shaken or stuck, it makes a noise like a clap of thunder.  The larger the sheet, the lower and bigger the sound.

The video below does not do this work justice.  It is, however, pure fun to play with this collection of weather-related noisemakers.

 

Matt Kizer

Matt Kizer lives with his wife and son in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. He is the resident scenic and lighting designer for Plymouth State University, where he has been the head of the design and technology program since 1996. He is a regular designer for Papermill Theatre, a regional company in Lincoln, NH. He has designed often for the Educational Theatre Collaborative, which produces both traditional and original musicals, as well as for Kearsarge Arts Theatre (KAT) Company in New London, a childrens’ theatre company, specializing in new works. Productions include, A You and Me World, winner of the Moss Hart Award for Children’s Theatre, and Mail to the Chief, which was invited for performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. He serves as a guest designer for Auburn University in Alabama. He served as faculty lighting designer for Operafestival Di Roma in Italy, where he designed lighting for L’elisir di amore and The Magic Flute, both produced with the Orchestra Sinfonica dell’ International Chamber Ensemble at Sant’Ivo alla Sapienza in central Rome. He has designed for dance and movement in Potsdam, Germany at T-Werk in Schiffbauergasse with A-Fortiorni. He has designed for Barnstormers Theatre, White River Theatre Festival in Vermont, and for dance companies, theatres, and colleges in New England, Virginia, Ohio and Indiana. He specializes in projections and HTML tools for theatre and theatre education. He serves as webmaster and as a contributor for BroadwayScene.com, AllTicketsInc.com, BroadwayIQ.com, and BroadwayEducators.com. He holds a BA in Theatre from Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Design from The Ohio State University.