Re/Orienting The Strand Theater
MIT Core II (Instructed by Cristina Parreno)
[Rigid, unyielding, straight angles: the straight theater chair. What would it mean for the theater chair to be queer?]
The theater chair is a prosthetic device. It enables a type of relation of a body with the environment. It also constrains and disables another. The wheelchair is also a prosthetic device. It enables a type of relation of a body with the environment. It also constrains and disables another.
This project reimagines the Strand Theater through the lens of the theater chair. The Strand theater becomes a heterogenous landscape that accommodates deviations within the normative and conventional sitting in theaters. While the existing central stage and the hierarchy of stepped slabs remain, an accessible ramp weaves through and fragments the seating area into islands of new seating arrangements. The ramp allows the audience to move between different zones. Each act of reorientation in these zones responds to my own desires and speculates on possibilities of new angles, sides, intersections, and contact between different bodies that dwell in this theater.
Orientations “involve different ways of registering the proximity of objects and others. Orientations shape not only how we inhabit space, but how we apprehend this world of shared inhabitance, as well as ‘who’ or ‘what’ we direct our energy and attention toward.” - Sara Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology