Conference paper

Suburban Dystopia And Shopping As A Soap Opera

With an approach between theatre, urban analysis, mapping and deconstruction, this 'glide' through Brasilia is an attempt to understand its urban tissue, formed through architectural action and spontaneous appropriation. In the city laid out between a modernist utopia of the 60ties and a capitalistic dystopia of today, we are mapping our field research of this modernist heaven, through a dynamic dialogue. This theatrical experiment is performed on the street, in public and semi-public space. It is treating the existing urban tissue as found scenery, a stage design for everyday life. By engaging in a dérive through the city, the environment is analysed in spontaneous reactions to the surrounding. By doing so, the actors turn from passive observers into active participants and interpreters of an auto-instructed play, engaging with their body and mind with the flow of everyday life; transforming their dialogue into verbal research. Two main questions from the title circulate throughout their conversations. Shopping as a paradigm of contemporary life, can be seen as a shift from the ideological split between east and west to a collaborative relation in capitalising on citizens' consuming habits. Secondly, two satellite cities - Samambaia and Ceilandia - are investigated in this research. An invisible wall stands between the planned city and its satellite settlements. Established already in the building phase of Brasilia and reinforced by the UNESCO heritage protection programme, it prevents any contemporary intervention in Plano Piloto. This lack of spontaneity is observed on all levels in the city, inhabitants divided trough geometric rationalism and activity concentrated in commercial zones. On the other side, the surrounding cities built as temporary settlements are based on opposite premises. Nonetheless, with minimum urban design they exhibit similar uniformity of space while constantly growing.


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