86529: Performative Spaces: Hedda Gabbler

This quote refers to the surname of the main character, Hedda Gabler, as the title of the play. Gabler is the surname of Hedda’s father, instead of her husband’s. Ibsen made this statement by the time of the publication of the work. It is a clear manifestation of how naturally the role of women has been historically relegated to its hierarchical relation to men. The fact that a woman needs to be regarded as either the daughter of her father or the wife of her husband should be an anachronism nowadays. As many philosophers claim now, gender roles are not just a matter of biological sex, but a cultural construction based upon relations of power.

Hedda is a complex character that personifies the social dissatisfactions of a dreamer woman whose life aspirations succumb to the security of an unadventurous marriage and a comfortable domestic life. But the lifestyle she has chosen will start falling apart quickly. Hedda has chosen her husband, but she is not in love with him. She has chosen the luxurious house in which she lives, but the house will turn out to be a prison for her. When she starts feeling confined by the presence of a series of characters that appear in her house, she begins a dangerous game. She starts manipulating the past, present and future of all the surrounding characters, but she ends up becoming the victim of her own game. Suicide becomes for her the only way out.

This studio will interrogate and discuss the apparently arbitrary decisions made by Hedda Gabler while reconstructing all the characters’ identities and roles to critically position the play in a contemporary cultural context. In the digital era, most of Hedda’s misadventures would simultaneously develop in the real world and in the virtual space. Who would be Hedda Gabler in the age of social media? What would be the cultural conventions she feels imprisoned by? What would be the physical and virtual spaces where she would develop her manipulation game? How would be her architectural prison? After a process of inquiry and debate, the physical and digital identities of Hedda Gabler will be speculatively reconstructed through her relation to space, objects, technologies and people in a contemporary context. In Sydney, in 2018.