Advertisement

Surveillance and Spatial Performativity in the Scenography of Tower

  • Lucy ThornettEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter will discuss Tower, a practice-research performance first staged in Elephant and Castle in 2017. Building upon the work of Dorita Hannah and her contention that scenography or performance design can critique architecture’s power structures (Theatr Perform Des 1:126–143.  https://doi.org/10.1080/23322551.2015.1032501, 2015), to argue that the scenography in Tower exploits the notion of surveillance to go beyond the city-as panopticon, intervening into the spatiality of the site to underscore other power dynamics inherent in its architecture. By utilising the window as a tool of surveillance, the scenography of Tower draws attention to the blurred boundaries between public and private space in the city and the performativity of public selves even in seemingly private spaces. In Tower, the act of watching reveals the power dynamics of a space in flux. This chapter will explore how Tower’s scenography intervenes into the built environment, utilising surveillance to make visible the (fictive) bodies of the (real) people displaced by the regeneration, and confronting the audience with their own power as a gentrifying presence in the site.

Bibliography

  1. Aronson, A. (2017). Foreword. In J. McKinney & S. Palmer (Eds.), Scenography Expanded (pp. xiii–xxvi). London/New York: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama.Google Scholar
  2. Brejzek, T. (2011). On the Authoring of Space. In T. Brejzek (Ed.), Expanding Scenography: On the Authoring of Space (pp. 8–15). Prague: The Arts and Theatre Institute.Google Scholar
  3. Brejzek, T. (2017). Between Symbolic Representation and New Critical Realism: Architecture as Scenography and Scenography as Architecture. In J. McKinney & S. Palmer (Eds.), Scenography Expanded (pp. 63–78). London/New York: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama.Google Scholar
  4. Brooks, E., & Collins, J. (2017). Scenography Matters: Performing Romani Identities. In J. McKinney & S. Palmer (Eds.), Scenography Expanded (pp. 95–109). London/New York: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama.Google Scholar
  5. Butler, J. (1990). Gender Trouble. New York/London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Colomina, B. (1996). Privacy and Publicity: Modern Architecture as Mass Media. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  7. Flynn, S., & Mackay, A. (Eds.). (2017). Spaces of Surveillance: States and Selves. Basingstoke: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  8. Foucault, M. (1977). Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Reprint, 1991. ed. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  9. Foucault, M. (2007). Security, Territory, Population: Lectures at the College De France 1977–1978. New York: Picador.Google Scholar
  10. Gropius, W. (1935). The New Architecture and the Bauhaus. Reprint, 1956. ed. London: Faber and Faber.Google Scholar
  11. Hall, R., Monahan, T., & Reeves, J. (2016). Editorial: Surveillance and Performance. Surveillance & Society, 14, 153–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hannah, D. (2011). Event-Space: Performance Space and Spatial Performativity. In J. Pitches & S. Popat (Eds.), Performance Perspectives: A Critical Introduction (pp. 54–62). Basingstoke/New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  13. Hannah, D. (2015). Constructing Barricades and Creating Borderline Events. Theatre and Performance Design, 1, 126–143.  https://doi.org/10.1080/23322551.2015.1032501CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hogue, S. (2016). Performing, Translating, Fashioning: Spectatorship in the Surveillant World. Surveillance & Society, 14, 168–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Irwin, K. (2008). The Ambit of Performativity: How Site Makes Meaning in Site-Specific Performance. In D. Hannah & H. Olav (Eds.), Performance Design (pp. 39–55). Copenhagen: Museum Tusculanum Press.Google Scholar
  16. Lotker, S., & Gough, R. (2013). On Scenography: Editorial. Performance Research, 18, 3–6.  https://doi.org/10.1080/13528165.2013.818306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Mcgrath, J. (2004). Loving Big Brother: Surveillance Culture and Performance Space. London/New York: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mcgrath, J. (2012). Performing Surveillance. In K. Ball, K. Haggerty, & D. Lyon (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of Surveillance Studies (pp. 83–90). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. McKinney, J. (2018). Seeing Scenography: Scopic Regimes and the Body of the Spectator. In A. Aronson (Ed.), The Routledge Companion to Scenography. Abingdon/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. McKinney, J., & Palmer, S. (2017). Introducing “Expanded” Scenography. In S. Palmer & J. McKinney (Eds.), Scenography Expanded: An Introduction to Contemporary Performance Design (pp. 1–20). London/New York: Bloomsbury Methuen Drama.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. McQuire, S. (2013). From Glass Architecture to Big Brother: Scenes from a Cultural History of Transparency. Cultural Studies Review, 9, 103–123.  https://doi.org/10.5130/csr.v9i1.3587CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Mirzoeff, N. (2011). The Right to Look. Critical Inquiry, 37, 473–496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Monahan, T. (2011). Surveillance as Cultural Practice. Sociological Quarterly, 52, 495–508.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Monahan, T. (2015). The Right to Hide? Anti-Surveillance Camouflage and the Aestheticization of Resistance. Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, 12, 159–178.  https://doi.org/10.1080/14791420.2015.1006646CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Morrison, E. (2015). Surveillance Society Needs Performance Theory and Arts Practice. International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media, 11, 125–130.  https://doi.org/10.1080/14794713.2015.1084812CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Morrison, E. (2016). Discipline and Desire: Surveillance Technologies in Performance. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ranciere, J. (2009). The Emancipated Spectator. London/New York: Verso.Google Scholar
  28. Rufford, J. (2015). Theatre and Architecture. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Southwark Council, Mayor of London. (2012). Elephant and Castle Supplementary Planning Document and Opportunity Area Planning Framework Available at: https://www.southwark.gov.uk/planning-and-building-control/planning-policy-and-transport-policy/supplementary-planning-documents-spd/spd-by-area?chapter=6 (Accessed 1st April 2018).
  30. Steiner, H., & Veel, K. (2011). Living Behind Glass Facades: Surveillance Culture and New Architecture. Surveillance & Society, 9, 215–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Thornett, L. (2018). Prosthetic Scenographies: Scenographic Extension of the Senses and Mediation of the Performance Space in Tower. International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media, 14, 1–16.  https://doi.org/10.1080/14794713.2018.1413225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Tschumi, B. (1996). Architecture and Disjunction, First MIT Press Paperback Edition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  33. Vidler, A. (1992). The Architectural Uncanny. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  34. von Arx, S. (2016). Unfolding the Public Space: Performing Space or Ephemeral Section of Architecture, PQ 2015. Theatre and Performance Design, 2, 82–94.  https://doi.org/10.1080/23322551.2016.1183351CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wallenstein, S.-O. (2012). Biopolitics and the Emergence of Modern Architecture. Reprint edition. New York/London: Princeton Architectural Press.Google Scholar
  36. Wehner, P. (2002 April 13). Profits Wrangle Proves to be Elephant’s Graveyard. Estates Gazette, p. 39.Google Scholar
  37. Whiteley, N. (2003). Intensity of Scrutiny and a Good Eyeful: Architecture and Transparency. Journal of Architectural Education, 56, 8–16.  https://doi.org/10.1162/104648803321672915CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of the Arts LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations