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Intimate Amphitheatre

A round of applause for you, because you are welcome
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Many people are lonely or feel alienated. They would search warmth and intimacy in relationships with others. But this type of relationships always remains tightly individualistic.

There is, however, a type of intimacy that used to dominate our societies, and to which our mind is still longing. This is a type of "collective" intimacy: the feeling that you feel welcome and appreciated in a larger group of people, instead of merely in personal relationships.

You can see this "collective intimacy" at work in most traditional societies.

Nowadays, most people are afraid of groups. Few dare to speak in front of a large crowd. We have lost our spontaneity and comfort when we face a large group of people.

Our urban, anonymous lifestyles have ruined the infrastructures which make collective intimacy possible.

I therefor suggest a very simple 'psycho-architectural' intervention that will restore this capacity of tying the individual to the group, and of giving the individual a transformative psychological experience. It will restore individuals' confidence in groups and in the good nature of the 'collective'.

The amphitheatre is located in such a way that the Sun's bright rays penetrate the stage from behind. The structure is build at a coast, facing the immense ocean. The entire amphitheatre is built at a certain height (say 50 meters off the ground), so that it can concentrate light and so that the individual who will take center stage, has to climb some stairs first.

You climb up out of the earthly things, and towards the heavens.

The entire amphitheatre is made out of bright white stone, preferrably marble. So you have a large architectural structure, but made out of a material that makes it look brilliant, light, heavenly.

Its stage is a small podium for one single person only - the alienated person. You can enter the podium by climing the white stairs, at the back of the theatre. You remain backstage, alone.

Now the 'spectators' are invited to take a seat in the amphitheatre. They have to wear simple white clothes, so as to make their individual differences disappear and become a group.

Voilà, we are now ready for the psychotherapeutic experience.

The alienated person, dressed in white, will climb the marble stairs, wait at the top, and when he opens the door to step out onto the small stage, he will be applauded by the white-dressed crowd. A ray of sunshine warms the back and lits the amphitheatre. The applause echoes towards the stage and throughout the amphitheatre.

Above you, the non-judgemental quiet of a blue sky. In front of you, the warmth of people. In your back, the mysterious serenity of the immense ocean. You are in the middle.

The contradiction and the workings of the architecture is so that you are center-stage, but that you would fuse with these elements. The serenity of the scene, and the non-judgemental signal of the group, makes it possible for you to lose your ego and temporarily become 'one' with the elements and the group. You will feel comfortable and warmly welcomed.

That's it. You leave, and you will have become a very different person.

django, Aug 24 2008

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       How do you motivate the audience members to appreciate and not judge the alienated person? How do you persuade the alienated person to trust the audience, and not see them as rather creepy?
pertinax, Aug 24 2008
  

       I wonder how big a need social integration like this is. Church and religion help this a lot. Maybe politicking, nationalism.   

       Other than the creepy factor (cult) and the logistics (Bob agian!? we already acknowledged him twice this week!), there is something else.   

       If I had 30 seconds in front of a large crowd, I might say something- like a soap box speaker- I might say something to create change or movement. What then?
Bcrosby, Aug 25 2008
  
      
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