Post-Mortem: The Pathologic Theatre for a Dis-eased Campus

2020, AD1

The recurrent excision of creative spaces in Auckland demonstrates a compulsive disorder that the University of Auckland is not free from. After the Maidment Theatre demolition promises of future venues dwindle with each emerging recreation centre. Arts commentator Hamish Keith refers to such eradications as a ruthless “Auckland disease,” which this project inverts by re-establishing theatre as a dis-easy site – actively inhabiting and activating the passive campus body.

Theatre Viscera proposes an entombed theatre autonomous from the campus to allow for informal exploration, disorganisation and discourse. With the old Maidment plan projected into the site as residue of the disease the campus attempted to purge. Within, vertiginous floating stages and a network of galleries and stairs are employed for performers and audiences to weave in and out of its spatial disarray. The anatomical theatre acts as a structural allegory for the autopsy of the theatre on campus. Antonin Artaud’s Theatre of Cruelty incites a destabilisation of safety forcing audiences to question their own communal and individual experiences. Further, engaging with Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s Carceri d’invenzione to disorient and disconcert the viewer through spatial disorder. In dissecting the Maidment postmortem, this project proposes a new spatiotemporal multiplicity as post-mortem (after-death).