Rainbow of Desires by Orsalia Dimitriou, Dejan Mrdja, Kleanthis Kyriakou, Emma Twine, Veronika Szabó, Ilma Molna
“Rainbow of desires” is a set of small pavilions installed in the open spaces of the Rhodes estate in Dalston. During a period of three months the pavilions are doubling as performative devices and workshop spaces based on the techniques of the theatre of the Oppressed and spaces of communal everyday life (public seating area, an open kitchen, an exchange library, a cinema). The central space becomes an active public space and the central stage of forum theatre, hosting the open performances. In the Theatre of the Oppressed, the audience becomes active, such that as “spect-actors” they explore, show, analyse and transform the reality in which they are living –the reality of living in a social housing estate, a currently ‘endangered” type of space in London through processes of privatisation, and gentrification. The social housing tenants often find themselves silenced and unable to react to the deterioration of their environment, their social marginalisation and their imminent evictions. We propose a periodical workshop with the social housing tenants based on Boal’s techniques that use theatre as means of promoting social and political change. “Rainbow of desires” creates social, cultural and material value for the community of the estate residents. The material refers to the actual space, the open space of the estate that turns into common space. The social value regards the sharing of experiences, desires and affects, the strengthening of the community. The cultural value is created through the theatre; it is the culture of the estate, of social housing, of its residents, the stories of everyday lives, of exceptional events and of their struggles, it the their shared history as a collective asset. A commons whose main values, empowerment and resilience stay in the hands of the commoners once the “Rainbow of desires” moves to a different estate.
Our proposal is collaboration between Orsalia Dimitriou, Dejan Mrdja, Kleanthis Kyriakou, Emma Twine, Veronika Szabó and Ilma Molna who are active in the disciplines of architecture, theater and activism . The role of each member in the shaping of our proposal is multifaceted and interlinked.
Orsalia Dimitriou and Dejan Mrdja are the founding members of the architectural practice Studio Syn.Orsalia has recently completed her PhD on the relationship of public space, commons and social movements in Goldsmiths University and runs the a design studio at Central Saint Martins named ‘imagining the commons’. Dejan has an extensive experienced in master planning, mixed-use schemes, urban regenerations and housing projects in London, working specifically in areas threatened with gentrification. Their ideas has been influencing the design and conceptual shaping of the proposal.
Kleanthis Kyriakou and Emma Twine are students of architecture at Central Saint Martins whose working area is Rhodes estate. Kleanthis project is focused on the relation of activism and performative spaces while Emma works on the expansion of the public sphere and notions of commoning. Kleanthis and Emma, whose design and conceptual ideas has strongly influenced the proposal, have conducted a detail ground research in the area of Dalston and specifically on Rhodes estates including numerous interviews with local residents.
Veronika Szabó and Ilma Molnar are forum theatre practitioners. Veronica is a theatre maker, performer and drama teacher specialised in forum theatre, drama/ theatre in education and devising. She is interested in audience participation and theatre as a social-political transformative tool. Ilma has been with the Forum Theatre company Cardboard Citizens in the past three years and have been involved with several other groups in the activist scene. Veronica and Ilma have been informing the proposal with their knowledge on theatre of the Oppressed projects and workshopns with local communities.