MICHELLE TSE

Wonderland

"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better."        - Samuel Beckett

   Paris, the City of Lights—incubator of arts and culture—or is it?

   Upon closer inspection, Paris only has an average of 51 sunny days per year, and when you look at our site in relation to its surrounding quarters, it is an area of 9-5 buildings, and fails to stay active during the night time. And while there is a myriad of cultural institutions in Paris dedicated to the arts and an abundant amount of theatres, there is no theatre within a twenty minute walking distance from our site, nor is there a dedicated safe space in Paris for theatre artists to fail and subsequently cultivate their work away from public scrutiny— scrutiny energized by the ever growing focus on this art form as a viable commercial entity. How can artists develop their craft if their biggest worry is financial stability and being put down for having different ideas than the norm? How can this former defense ministry site influence and shield the process of theatre making?

   This project, as my final project during my advanced studio studies, and my last semester at GSAPP, aims to put together a conclusion to the concepts and ideas developed throughout the last three semesters, using the technical skills I’ve acquired from the past six semesters at Columbia.

   Theatre making requires the coming together of arttists from all disciplines of art and design, even though they are often lumped into the category of ‘theatre’— directors, playwrights, choreographers, and actors are students of language; composers, lyricists, and musicians rely on their instruments; set, lighting, sound and costumes are designers’ jobs. After critically thinking about performance and the space of performance, this ultimate ending of an urban scheme explores a space that anchors all of these elements into one central hub.

Spring 2015
Mentor: Lise Anne Couture