Chiara Stephenson




  • Tournée Cornucopia 2019-2023

Chiara Stephenson


Scénographe, elle a travaillé au théâtre, à l’opéra, pour des concerts et des installations.

Elle a également conçu la scénographie de Sza et Lorde pour la tournée Solar power.

Travail avec Björk

Chiara Stephenson à propos de son travail sur Cornucopia

What’s the most challenging dictate or request that a performer or director has issued to you, and how did you address it ?
Bjork wanted Cornucopia to be both intensely intimate, as though the audience could feel her whispering in their ear, and vast, voyeuristic and distant. A challenge that demanded a creative symbiosis of sound and light. Through close collaboration with other departments, we worked to bring these shifts from the acute to the epic. Tobias Gremmler’s incredible video art was at the heart of this, flying from the macro to the micro with kaleidoscopic shifts that take the audience on a journey with and through Björk. The show will feature surround sound that syncs with surround lighting, as though the staging itself is flying around the audience.
How would you describe the show and your role in it ?
If the set design is the plate and Bjork is the feast... director Lucrecia Martel has been the Chef ! Add that with lighting designer Bruno Poet and I as theatre creatives, the show much like the venue is a fusion of many things.
Walk me through the inspiration for this project. I’m particularly interested in the more material-seeming inspirations (patterns, fabrics, textiles, etc.) that seem to have informed the show. What are the icebergs ? And what do they mean to you.
Natural forms are at the heart of this show. Whether the intricate beauty of fungi or the grand wonder of the cosmos, there was no part of reality to big or small to consider. Working with these forms and forces—light, wind, sound—aligns the creative process with the natural forces that keep life going, not to mention the materials we need to bring our ideas into being. It was also interesting to note the patterns that emerged as we moved our attention from the biggest things, stars and light, and the smallest, gills and microbes. It took us into both the personal and the universal, becoming infinitely small or unthinkably large. In the same way, Bjork’s music is so personally and emotionally raw, it takes you deep into your own life experience, but is also about the human condition in general. It’s fascinating moving between these perspectives.
I know that Björk is a real person. But is she a real real person ? What did she wear to your first meeting with you ? Probably not a swan dress.
She is true to her art and her way of being holds true to her way of performing. She doesn’t wear jeans and a t-shirt or at least not that I’ve seen yet, she wears works of art and this time will perform with another incredible mask creation by James Merry. She’s someone who doesn’t seem to draw lines between art and life. Björk is her art, just as much as her work is inseparable from her.
Hudson Yards has had a somewhat mixed reception in New York, but the Shed has been seen by some as a saving grace—a way to preserve a little NYC counterculture amid the luxury shopping mall and millionaire’s condos. Do you think that this piece of work speaks to that desire ?
Yes entirely. We live in a fast evolving, technologically fueled world, but also one that is revealing a growing consciousness for our environment and the wellbeing of our planet. Björk’s Cornucopia is a roller coaster of a show that harnesses that energy and technical capacity, directing it towards a vision for a hopeful future. We have to protect culture, and the Shed is doing this courageously. It’s part of protecting the variety of our existence, which Cornucopia is also all about. The venue and the show hold the same things dear.


“Nature was a massive inspiration,” ... “The sensual side of nature and the curves and organic forms and femininity in that. It’s like an exploration of perspective. You know, Björk is totally interested in nature and technology and where those two combine, and how they can combine in the future as we move forward.” ...“We’re using kind of unconventional materials to project on. We’re not just projecting onto a screen, we’re projecting onto layers of a fragile membrane,” ... “I think the fragility of the materials we used is surprising. Often, rock shows, they’re kind of big and butch and engineered and, like, right angles and steel. This has a very different, more delicate feel to it,” ... “a theatrical sensibility, as opposed to this being a rock concert with video.”


We wanted our show to float a bit, and we’ve really worked hard to create that feeling, like a loss of gravity.