Angeliki Sakellariou

Performative Interventions in Public Space: Moments of urban transformation in Athens

Supervisors: Nasser Golzari, Samir Pandya

THIS RESEARCH-BY-DESIGN IS concerned with forming a critique on the temporary uses of public space by socio- cultural activists in Athens, Greece, through the development of notational drawings and filmic experiments. The aim is to propose a method to describe, sustain and construct conditions for temporary transformations within the urban context of Athens by exploring the symbiosis of corporeal movement and physical space.

The research draws attention to the political, economic and social drivers that led to the increased presence of performative activism in public space from the beginning of the financial crisis in 2009. An improvised notation system is formulated as a representational language that can describe selected events and become a way by which ephemeral actions, engraved through performance into public space, can be captured. Speculative experimentations test how the interpretation of the ephemeral as an embodied experience can determine and impose elements of design to consolidate a new potential tool for architecture, urban design and urban activism.

This notational drawing as a hybrid tool has the capacity to shape socio-spatial programmes and disrupt the formality of space, freeing it from constraints and showing what cannot be otherwise seen. The research therefore contributes towards the formulation of an experiential drawing method that illustrates how we can draw urban spaces, with their dynamics and flows, and their temporary transformations, beyond the conventional drawing styles used in architecture. Ultimately, through this process, traditional architectural drawing is challenged in terms of its ability to adapt and reflect complex social transformations.

MORE is a part of Open Studio project run by the School of Architecture + Cities at the University of Westminster to make its design, research and practice-based work available online while it is happening.

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