Costume Drama

Katarina Bonnevier, Thérèse Kristiansson

Project Period: 2012-2013
Type: Senior Research Project
Program Area(s): Critical Historiography, Critical Projections


This project acts as a case study in order to develop performative design research within the frame of critical projections (critical fictions). It comprises two parallel modes of operation which both consider and reflect the relationship of fiction and architecture; one is the enactment of more or less recent historical queer club scenes and the other is the written script which reasons and resonates with the enactments. A theoretical foundation for the project is Elspeth Probyn’s call: “…space is a pressing matter and it matters which bodies where and how press up against it. Most important of all are who these bodies are with: in what historical and actual spatial configuration they find and define themselves.” (Probyn 1995, 81).

The nightclub is a meeting place for theater and architecture, where the borders between performance and reality are provoked and desire becomes materialized. It produces self-definition, perhaps even more so in a queer context. In this project, which seeks to expand the formal field used to generate and present architectural knowledge, the club scene provides a testing ground. A process of separate events exploring set designs and costumes will later be summoned in a period of multifaceted performances. Every one present, performers, spectators, technicians, costume, make-up and stage workers, are part of the setting. The method seeks to project and actuate radical spaces once more, to bring forth and investigate empowering and altering architectures where the presence of the crowd is non-negotiable. Simultaneously the project engages in critical historiography; one that is embodied in the participants, in the spaces as well as in the writings, which also confronts an absence of such scenes and their implicit burdens of sexuality and gender in the theory and history of architecture. The scope of Costume Drama is extensive; part 1 focuses on bringing out an architectural research methodology.

Researcher(s) Bio and Publications