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Thesis Abstract: A Work in Progress

September 23, 2010
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  1. nathanielwooten permalink
    September 27, 2010 1:34 pm

    I have more to come but I wanted to see if you were familiar with this book:

  2. October 1, 2010 10:53 pm


    Currently reading an article by my geo professor and it is a great read for your topic. He talks about the end of public space (In accordance with a park in california and the homeless), but nonetheless he adresses great ideas.

    Here is a quote_”Have we created a society that expects and desires only private interactions, private communications, and private politics, that reserves public spaces solely for commodified recreation and spectacle?

    Of course not all is pertinent since it is about the homeless, but there are very good sections pertaining to your ideas.

    I will send you the pdf-

  3. October 5, 2010 3:46 pm

    Hey Daley,
    I was thinking of your project today in my geography course while we were discussing the ‘post-liberal’ public space which has proliferated through out the US. Things such as malls, college campuses, new urbanist developments, California’s beaches, etc, are providing the appearance of public space but due to their regulatory nature fail to operate as ‘open’ areas to all persons or use. It is obvious that both physical public amenity and regulation have altered the degree of ‘openness’ of both our privatized and government owned public space and limits the possibilities for performance or self expression.

    It is clear that one can not fully discuss physical public space without referencing the governance over those areas. When I considered theatrical performance and open urban space I cannot help but envision Dundas Square in Toronto, where the street edge of the plaza is lined by a large performance stage. I had the opportunity one night to walk past while a concert was in progress and it clearly had a much different feel than when the area was vacated. To me there is a big question of not only how to change policy to better engender ‘openness’ of space but how park/plaza/square infrastructure can be designed to offer multiple or every day/every moment use.

    as an aside: You may want to check out the work of Mike Davis if you have not already done so. I believe he is the one responsible for coining ‘post-liberal public space’ in his book “The City of Quartz”

  4. October 6, 2010 2:35 am


    I think your abstract is strong and focused. Your contention on the importance of the public and demonstration (versus privatization and seclusion) is great, especially when focused through the lens of the city as theater or a spectacle.

    One element of this research that I am intrigued by is the theatricality of the architecture, and the theatrical performances it will enable and play host to. Perhaps you should not limit yourself to designing just the architecture. Not only can the architecture communicate your position, but the performances it enables or even forces can do that same. I say forces with the notion that the space would make it difficult or impossible to realize a particular form of performance that doesn’t fit your agenda (if there even is such a form or type of performance).

    I like the possible guerrilla nature of this as well – the opportunity of dross space and every day space such as sidewalks, rooftops, whatever can become a stage for a theater which questions societal practices and trends towards privacy, while reaching as large an audience as possible. I can also see the strong role of digital communication, something which many can argue has perpetuated the privateness of our culture, as a tool to combat just that trend.

    I have a few books and readings about ‘public’ and public space as a means of manifesting that which is public. I will post on them soon, as well as list them in my annotated bibliography, but perhaps we should spend some time together working through them.

  5. nathanielwooten permalink
    October 6, 2010 7:20 pm

    General Site: Unknown
    Specific Site: Unknown

    Themes: Private/Public, Policy, Urban Society, Events, Action

    Love the Mumford quote, as I think it really validates theaters role in contemporary city and architecture, although I would challenge you to balance it out with an ancient quote (renaissance or greek) and a more recent quote as I think the city has changed dramatically since Mumford’s day.

    I was excited to see you challenge the Age of Excess”, but I do not yet see its relationship to urban theatre. I look forward to hearing this elaborated.

    I also want to challenge you a bit on your statement “When can urbanites take respite from the elements and the grueling activity of the city?” I know what you mean, and agree, but critically I see this as subjective and general. I would like to see this broken down by social classes. The rich do have places of respite, dotted throughout the city in penthouses and bars, but indeed the poor live in a very different city when it comes to access. Additionally I do not think the sentences following this are well linked:

    “A large component of architecture is shelter. Architecture
    should contribute to the sphere of enactment for our urban theatre. The psychological eect on
    humans is inherently more ingrained in an urban environment. Architecture has the power to
    inuence us away from the obsession with complete privacy, which needs more transparency and
    integraon into the urban fabric.”

    I know what you are getting at, but I would challenge you to find a more linear way of making the argument.

    One of the themes I really like in your project is event. I have two responses to the way you are using it. 1) Events are singular (unlike situations) and often unimpactful due to this. What impact can event have in the context of crisis. 2) Crises are often defined as events, and these events often radically alter situations (Kitrina). You may not be interested in pursuing these questions but I think it could be quite interesting and I think the relative vagueness thus far (no defined site or event yet) would allow for it. I think a proposal to deal with crisis with spectacle or event would be fascinating.

    I guess generally I really like the thesis but I am concerned that with the exception of shout-outs to “Age of Excess” and “Urban Convergence” it has yet to take full advantage of the ‘crisis theme’.

  6. nathanielwooten permalink
    October 6, 2010 7:21 pm

    Oh and I really like where the diagrams are going. Some of the more successful ones I have seen so far. Not sure whats going on in the third diagram/timeline post-2010.

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