ADR18: Annual Design Research Exhibition
University of Sydney Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning in association with the Tin Sheds Gallery on 27-28 September 2018.

REVEL AFTER THE CURFEW

Authors: Jorge Valiente Oriol, Gonzalo Valiente, Amaia Sanchez-Velasco, Miguel Rodriguez Casellas and Leandro Cappetto

Sydney urban space is a paradigmatic example of the effects of neoliberal politics on the city. The pressure of real estate markets, as well as the compulsive consumption of allegedly “new and exciting” experiences, have turned the city into an enforced investment. Here, any unprofitable space or subject needs to be removed. Meanwhile, a dense network of CCTV cameras and smart-phones witness and safeguard this 24/7 hyper-controlled cityscape.

The Lockout laws have drastically shifted the way citizens can use public space at night. The criminalization of Sydney’s cultural nightlife has displaced party venues further away from the city centre and forced young generations to revel clandestinely. Party venues do not constitute an architectural typology; rather, they form a series of relational spaces and atmospheric conditions that take over spaces and transform them into temporary heterotopias. They are spaces of illusion where the ‘homo faber’ becomes a temporary ‘homo ludens’, aided by the implementation of hedonistic experiences, purification rituals, uncontrolled interactions with others, and the loss of inhibition of the body.

´Revel after the Curfew´ is an immaterial architecture-object and an art-device, a dirty nightclub and a dark cenotaph, a synesthetic instrument and a synthetic atmosphere.

As a nightclub, it reproduces some of the atmospheres and rituals expelled from “what used to be” Sydney´s nightlife. It represents (politically and visually) the cultural diversity, hedonistic excess, unprofitable ugliness and unpredictable behaviours of unregulated nights.

As a cenotaph, it becomes the definitive manifestation of the assassination of Sydney´s nightlife. Bringing some of the rites and absences of the night to the monumental manifestation of its death, it will generate the appropriate conditions for a collective confrontation with this regulated sacrifice, in name of public order and markets. The physical presence of the cenotaph will make possible a shared acceptance of this ‘necessary disappearance’.

The synthetic and synesthetic combination ‘nightclub-cenotaph’ makes a radical use of the material, ritualistic, aesthetic and representational capacities of architecture to articulate bodies, absences, discourses, and memories. It proposes an alternative scenario that allows us to escape from the estrangement of hyper-regulation.

Situated within the field of critical spatial practice, in words of Jane Rendell, this installation will transgress the limits of art and architecture while engaging with the social and the aesthetic, theory and practice, the public and the private.

The work is the continuation of a series of design research projects that stage, perform and debate geographies of violence in the neoliberal era.

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