The Architecture of Performance / The Performance of Architecture

4th-Year Architectural Design Studio at the International
Program in Design and Architecture (INDA), Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

Studio Professor - Cheryl Wing-Zi Wong

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Manifesto for Performance Space Design, by Ekkrit Suwanwong

Manifesto for a Design Proposal (Version 2)

The area of Cai Wu Wei and the city of Shenzhen are in parallel development through the urban history of physical and political change. Cei Wu Wei is one of the original locations of urban villages that accommodates new migrants in the city, since the time that Shenzhen began to develop. Today, the area is active 24hrs, serving daily activities of both inhabitants in the village, and visitors who come for public leisure and utility. Thus, this specific space is a local and vibrant part of what is now Shenzhen's financial district.

   The initiation of a cultural and performance space specific to the site of Cei Wu Wei is inspired by the cultural, political and physical changes analyzed in Shenzhen. As the originating point, the space will act as a statement of cultural identity of Shenzhen through the doctrine of the contemporary situations of social and economic transformation of Shenzhen, and China as a whole. 

   The process of thinking requires a selection of performance to become a guideline statement and uses it as a communication tool to evoke public audiences. The theatre should stand as a cultural representation and monument to the storyline of Shenzhen's transformation.

   Out of the varied art forms of China from the ancient to the contemporary, each individually cultivates experiences of the nation's stand through the expressions from dramatic acts, dance movement, music, verses and atmospheric scenes which in total create the successful and influential performance. 

    'The Red Detachment of Women' is one of the national pieces from the Communist Cultural era and is a model of a historic-contemporary theatrical ballet that speaks from a nationalistic viewpoint. Ironically and ambiguously, its content also corresponds to the situation of the political ownership of lands specific to the land of Cei Wu Wei, which awaits another page of transformation, which will or will not have impacts to the urban and social activity changes in the area. This performance will bear the message to public audiences to understand the contemporary change to their neighborhood and also provide education to the historical and contemporary change in these modern times of living in one of the fast growing cities in China.

    In this proposal, the performance space will act as public theatrical venue that will hold the adapted performance of 'The Red Detachment of Women'  in the contemporary context of Shenzhen. The main performance will act as the city's signature piece to speak for its original cultural beliefs regarding the social and political orders, in comparison to modern-day existing conditions, which are still ambiguous. This cultural and performance space will hold experimental theatrical spaces to open opportunities for other local and international performance artists to participate in the collaboration of creative expression of the social and political situations, nationally and globally. The venue will also activate through its vibrant livelihood of public venues and facilities; cafes, restaurants, shops that cohesively link the surrounding exuberant urban developments.