Wednesday, 8 October 2008
Just after the stranding on the island the cast-aways had to discover they were not the only ones there. A travel agent already flogged low carbon holidays on the undiscovered paradise island and was not amused by the arrival of the shipwrecked. For the stranded however, island survival life kicked in. A shelter was quickly erected, animals fended off (immediately marketed by the canny agent as the paradise island safari park). Messages in bottles were sent via passers-by, enticing people outside venues on the surrounding mainland to take up different forms of communication with the island. The call for rescue culminated in a SOS dance, which proved successful as all returned safely to erect architecture's studio for rum punch to discuss the event.
For many (including ourselves) it was a brave thing to do, using this public space (a traffic island) in such a deliberately different way, interacting and provoking, re-imagining space. We were astonished by the numbers of people happy to join in, some even inventing their own roles and takes (such as the travel agent) to the event.
Not only did the event inspire very curious moments, it also made some others, who could not attend the event (so we got told), spend time on the island afterwards imagining what the inhabitation of this space could be like. Intriguing and almost tempting not to go through with the actual event next time (after much noise about it happening beforehand to get the imagination spinning) - only to keep the imagination open and not limit the possibilities by creating closure through the event itself. But then, we are architects, not nihilists...and we do like a bit of strangeness and fun.
Cast-away was erect architecture's contribution the London Open House's GreenSkyStudios programme.