"In contemporary architecutre, the pervasice forms of architectural representations, whether drawings, renders or photography of completed projects, largely serve to diminish the role of the user to creatively occupy architecture, and transform space and meaning."
This situation is especially apparent in urban developments where the user's actions and the conventions of activity are seemingly prescribed by the designer, "rendering the occupant of the architecture passive". Our intervention is sequenced in three acts.
Please watch the following video before proceeding.
Act 1: The lack of the occupation of space as a creative act of producing architecture is exemplified by the urban furniture in Pitt St. Mall, where the design, arrangement and materiality, appear to determine a limited use. The floor plane is for walking on and the elevated wooden plane is for sitting on. Through the first act, we as performers sought to explore alternative methods of engaging with these elements. Surprisingly, our unconventional inhabitation of the furniture barely raised an eyebrow (there were two City of Sydney security guards just behind us, and the Blonde Lady in Boots was unfazed). This led us to our intervention.
Act 2: We sought to trigger fundamental changes in perception through minimal disruption. We deconstructed and displaced the components of furniture throughout the mall. The ambiguity of this new landscape forms the stage for Act 2, where the occupants become the performers and are challenged to actively interpret new functions in these dislocated elements and to occupy this space in a new manner in order to reassert the notion that architecture is not only inclusive of space and material, but also people, objects and events. Will they be more encouraged to sit on the floor, or stand on the seats? As set designers, we have refraned from graphically suggesting any specific mode of occupation of the landscape.
Act 3: In the third and final act, the meaning of these elements are again augmented. Sections of the new landscape are demarcated as artworks that 'cannot' be touched. This final act prompts the users to question the role of the art: either it is a decorative object in space, or an active agent in producing space. Both views are embodied in this act. Will users continue engaging with or disengage with these objects? This will depend on their interpretation of art. An ordinary Hyde Park bench is placed next to each of these bounded 'art spaces' to further question the role of urban art as architecture, and the role of the user in producing architecture.