Rainbow of Desires

The Rainbow of Desires is a set of small pavilions installed in the open spaces of the Rhodes Estate in Dalston. For three months the pavilions double as performative devices and workshop spaces based on the techniques of the ‘Theatre of the Oppressed’, as well as spaces of communal everyday life (public seating area, an open kitchen, an exchange library, a cinema). The centre becomes an active public space and the central stage a forum theatre, hosting open performances. In the Theatre of the Oppressed, audiences become active “spect-actors”. They explore show, analyse and transform the reality in which they are living: the social housing estate ‘endangered’ through processes of privatisation and gentrification. Social housing tenants often find themselves silenced and unable to react to the deterioration of their environment. We propose a periodical workshop with the social housing tenants based on Augusto Boal’s techniques using theatre as means of promoting social and political change. Rainbow of Desires material value comes in transforming the open space of the estate into common space. Its social value is the sharing of experiences, desires and strengthening of the community. Cultural value is created through the theatre; it is the culture of the estate, of its residents, the stories of everyday lives, of exceptional events and struggles. It is shared history as a collective asset. A commons whose main values, empowerment and resilience stay in the hands of the commoners once the Rainbow of Desires moves to a different estate.

Orsalia Dimitriou and Dejan Mrdja
Founding members of the architectural practice Studio Syn. Orsalia recently completed a PhD on the relationship of public space, commons and social movements at Goldsmiths College and runs a design studio at Central Saint Martin’s named Imagining the Commons. Dejan has extensive experience in
master-planning, mixed-use schemes, urban regeneration and housing projects in London, working specifically in areas threatened with gentrification.

Kleanthis Kyriakou and Emma Twine
Students of architecture at Central Saint Martin’s whose working area is the Rhodes Estate. Kleanthis’ project is focused on the relation of activism and performative spaces while Emma works on the expansion of the public sphere and notions of commoning.

Veronika Szabó and Ilma Molnar
Forum theatre practitioners. Veronica is a theatre maker, performer and drama teacher specialised in forum theatre.
Ilma has been with the forum theatre company Cardboard Citizens for the past three years.