Tribe of Stones
Final Show MA Theatre Design
Wimbledon College of Art, London
3.09.15 / 10.09.15
Tribe of Stones is an immersive experience that lasts 2’18’’.
It constructs a process of the acceptance of a loss. It interprets space using the terms of Turner's three phases of a rite of passage: separation, transition and incorporation.
They are embodied in the space.
They are the space and its voice.
Tribe of Stones results from a process of deconstruction and reinterpretation of a specific site, a Victorian garden cemetery in London.
After reading the Brompton Cemetery in terms of its architectural components and meaning related to the cult of death and its ritualistic practice, I found a strong correspondence between its formal attributes and the Turner’s three phases of a rite of passage.
The semantic structure of separation, transition and incorporation can be transferred in this specific spatial realm, becoming representative of a process of acceptance of a loss, a journey toward a new condition.
The Central Avenue can be read as a metaphor of the first phase called separation: its linearity suggests the action of keeping the distance from something or someone; its length alludes to the slowness of this process. The act of walking along this path is characterised by movements across boundaries and instability.
It announces an end unpredictably achievable.
The prominent colonnades of the Great Circle evoke the second phase called transition. They insinuate a sense of precariousness, chaos and uncertainty. Walking through them makes people feel lost in an unsafe vortex without a precise destination to reach.
There is not only one focal point but many perspectives are widely opened at the same time and gaze.
The Domed Chapel with its high altar is the conclusion of the journey and of the last act, the incorporation. Here is where the loss is replaced and compensate by a new entity, weather material or immaterial it is.
Stillness and intimacy take over the atmosphere of the chapel, strong and impressive.
The whole process is pervaded by a sense of internal conflict due to the juxtaposition between past and present. The goal to achieve is blurred and undefined until the end.
My personal experience of the Brompton Cemetery went beyond its religious and spiritual nature.
The act of “deconstructing” the site led me to an in-depth understanding of the spirit of the place and its structure, essential to reread and reinterpret it through its primary elements.
I found this practice an effective and consistent methodology of analysis, in order to transfer upon any spatial realm external categories derived from the human mind.
The audience is invited to make a step inside an immersive booth, take a sit and listen to an audio track via earphones.
The space is long and narrow: it shrinks itself becoming one third of its width to the opposite side of the visitor’s point of view.
The atmosphere is intimate; the booth has an abstract texture and is meant to be the “inside” of human’s mind.
Lights and sound
Audio and lighting effects are synchronised: each Turner’s phase corresponds to a different intensity and dynamic of sounds and light.
The public experiences this journey through visual and auditory impulses.
Stone. Here is a tribe of stones.
It hasn’t gone yet.
That voice chocked by the silence, a handful of soil, the taste of the dawn, a pause.
That fear. Unsaid.
Empty. Those eyes were empty.
Are you here?
The walk is heavy, the air starts burning.
I am not as strong as I was.
Are you here?
Break my pace, steal my balance, win my gravity.
It hasn’t gone yet. It lies here, inside me.
Are you here?
Through the darkness you encase me and.
Inside that corner of the sky, where my everything is. Now.
Are you here? Are you still here?
It has gone. It has found its place.
And my eyes are empty. Again.