To read all of the inherent mechanisms on the basis of which theater operates is to perceive and acknowledge the symbolic space i.e. the distance in between the tangible and the conceptual where every construct negotiates its own terms of execution and development. Through the studying of the triadic nature of theater qua performance, architectural space and quality/metaphor, the plethora of means through which the meaning of a Script is produced, altered and communicated is outlined. Additionally, this essay examines the concepts of “perception”, “schemata of interpretation” and “relative location” in an attempt of decoding the dynamics between spectator and spectacle.
By employing theater as the source of a conceptual apparatus through which space can be read, this essay introduces the concept of the “Symbolic City” as a construction which does not negotiate its terms in the symbolic space but solely emerges from it. Athens is presented as the Symbolic City par excellence while an attempt is made to briefly analyze the city’s mechanisms that produce meaning and the consequences these have upon the symbolic of the Greek capital.
Parallel to Athens runs the poem “The Waste Land” (1914) by T.S. Eliot as they both share the palimpsest at the core of their project and the pronounced inability of producing genuine meaning a novo. In Eliot’s case however, a certain divergence is noted concerning the ways of dealing with such a crisis which ultimately leads this essay to Antonin Artaud’s theoretical work. Through Artaud’s radical take on the theater and its social role, the possibility of the complete abolishment of every conservative medium of representation and expression is examined towards the annihilation of every conflict produced by the antagonism of matter and mind and finally, the possibility of the production of new situations and realities.