This compelling example demonstrates the performing potential of architecture to “make” the event, but its overpowering presence can also subvert its original intent. Niemeyer’s Sambódromo, by formalising the public institution of the samba parade, transformed the communal ritual of carnival into a civic spectacle for public – and touristic – consumption. If architects recognise the social power of architecture as a performing art, then the question of participation must remain in the forefront. Architecture has the potential to support ephemeral events for public appropriation, but it can also become a tool of power by imposing order onto the chaotic nature of existing rituals. If we accept the premise that architecture is a performing art, it is also our responsibility to understand its full potential to avoid making it into a tool that inhibits participation in existing popular ritual and identify-defining events.
From medieval festival to modern day carnival, in: Architecture as a performing art, p.144
“The architects that we connect with famous cinquecento theater designs, including both Serlio and Scamozzi, were also festival architects for their princely patrons. They experienced for themselves the power of ephemeral performance structures to transform the city through a reordering of perceptions of space and also of time within a simultaneous awareness of the illusory and the real”
Through the lens image and illusion at play in the ideal city, in Architecture as a performance p.99
every exit is an entrance somewhere else
Tom Stoppard / Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead #
Blessed sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit of the garden,
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated
And let my cry come unto Thee.
Ash Wednesday / T.S. Eliot
Bentham’s Panopticon is the architectural figure of this composition. We know the principle on which it was based: at the periphery, an annular building; at the centre, a tower; this tower is pierced with wide windows that open onto the inner side of the ring; the peripheric building is divided into cells, each of which extends the whole width of the building; they have two windows, one on the inside, corresponding to the windows of the tower; the other, on the out-side, allows the light to cross the cell from one end to the other. All that is needed, then, is to place a supervisor in a central tower and to shut up in each cell a madman, a patient, a condemned man, a worker or a schoolboy. By the effect of backlighting, one can observe from the tower, standing out precisely against the light, the small captive shadows in the cells of the periphery. They are like so many cages, so many small theatres, in which each actor is alone, perfectly individualized and constantly visible. The panoptic mechanism arranges spatial unites that make it possible to see constantly and to recognize immediately. In short, it reverses the principle of the dungeon; or rather of its three functions – to enclose, to deprive of light and to hide – it preserves only the first and eliminates the other two. Full lighting and the eye of a supervisor capture better than darkness, which ultimately protected. Visibility is a trap.
Foucault, Michel. “Discipline and Punishment.” New York: Pantheon, 1977, p.200
I’m working on a paper on the case of the hiv positiv women who where hunted and publicly ashamed in…View