The City: Urban Architecture & Material Culture

Ciara Greaney

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I sat and I wondered for a while about a suitable topic for this post. I thought about what may be right and what may be wrong, until you might say, the penny dropped. Material culture does not need to be searched for; it is all around around us, everywhere – if we may allow our eyes to see it.

It’s my favourite time of year and as I gazed at Brown Thomas’ beautiful window displays I realised there was probably no better example on Patricks Street. This year the windows celebrate the razz-ma-tazz of theatre life – from front of stage to backstage and up in the gods – with eight different scenes depicting behind the scenes action from dressing room dramas to the final encore performance.

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Through mediums such as the theatre and the department store we saw the development of relationships between people and their environment and how public spaces have over time began to shape who we are as human beings – the theatre, the cinema, the development of the media have all had a huge impact on our lives. The public learned who they were, and who they wanted to be. At the theatre you dressed in your finest clothes and enjoyed the spectacle. At the department store, you invested in this lifestyle. You chose who you want to be and how you want to represent yourself.

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What an interesting concept it arose within me & I looked around at the theatre of life on our cities streets. And I thought about the many wonderful cities I have travelled to and the people who stood out to me in many. The theatre of the promenade on a Sunday afternoon, the show we put on everyday. This event of space that brings together the body, the city and acts of self represent representation.

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The city may never be the same again, but we may as well enjoy the spectacle.

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