Des Ring der Nibelungen

Masters of Arts Research)
Interior Design Stream

The text and imagery contained in this MA by Research is a chronological documentation of research and projects undertaken in response to the 19th-century German composer Richard Wagner and his four-part musical drama Der Ring des Nibelungen. Created over a period of four years part-time, the projects and text created for this study were researched and realised in my adopted city of Berlin. Through my interdisciplinary profession in scenography, architecture, filmmaking and dramaturgy, the myriad processes and practices involved in generating projects in these disciplines have infiltrated and enhanced the study. Each of the three stages of my research is concerned with building allegorical connections through an analysis of Der Ring des Nibelungen and Berlin’s mid 20th-century history of destruction, reconstruction, separation and unity post-1989.

Under the title First Stages, this first project of the study begins with engaging a direct relationship with the themes inherent in Der Ring des Nibelungen including annihilation and creation, emancipation and redemption. Studies into these areas later inspired a series of contextual and analytical connections; generating modelled spatial environments for the musical drama’s staging and theatre. The second stage appropriately titled Middle Stages, was conceived as a way of constructing allegorical representations to the musical drama by drawing on the Nordic Teutonic Myths that form the narrative basis of Wagner’s musical drama and Daniel Libeskind’s building: The Extension to the Berlin Museum Housing the Jewish Department. Created as a computer-animated film under the title In Angle/Im Winkle, the project builds a composite connection to the imagined spaces inherent in the drama with the architecture of annihilation and memory in generating a fluid frieze of fictitious and invented mythical spaces. The third and final stage of the project titled End Stages, is an amalgamation of the two previous stages generating a second film work shot in 16mm. Titled Visiting Card, this low-tech stop-frame animated film visualises through a composite of real and unreal environments from the cities of Berlin and Dresden together with those referenced in the musical drama into a modelled symbiosis of the three.