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Mythopoetic Environment The 15 Cross-cultural Archetypes Interactive Design Theatre Design

 
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This project is a revival of the classical theme of memory theatre. In ancient Greece, storytellers carefully placed objects in especially designed rooms to aid in the recall of their stories. In Roman times, the orators and leading citizens had small buildings set aside for that purpose. The architect, civil engineer and educator Marcus Vitruvius, conceived a twelve-part amphitheatre to represent the idea of the world as theatre, the 'theatrum mundi'.

From the early Middle Ages, the common presence of 'memory-images' in the great cathedrals of Europe heightened the perception of whole populations and aided in the acceptance of the moral lessons being taught.

Giulio Camillo, the Renaissance scholar and mythologist, revived the concept with a small transportable version, widely acclaimed at the time. In the early 17th Century the 'idea del teatro' was again taken up by Robert Fludd the English mystic, physician and philosopher, as the Theatrum Orbi, possibly influencing the design of The Globe and other theatres of the day.

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The Mayflower Pilgrims, arriving in Massachusetts Bay in 1620, were invited to visit the settlement of the indigenous Wampanoag.  Along the trail they noticed circular pits from time to time. These, they were told, were 'memory holes', having been dug so that each generation would remember, through such a mnemonic device, a mythic story said to have been related to that very place.

In the late 19th century, the renowned anthropologist and polymath, Adolf Bastian, founder of the Berlin Ethnographic Museum, first pointed to the recurring themes found in widely dispersed mythologies. These he called völkergedanken folk ideas – and went on to propose the idea of the psychic unity of humankind. Later scholars and transpersonal psychologists began to refer to these common themes as mythic archetypes. In the early 20th century, Carl Jung explored archetypal themes in the world of dreams, illuminating the ‘collective unconscious’ through which every human being is linked. In the course of a lifetime of research, Joseph Campbell pointed out that the world’s mythologies, ritual practices, folk traditions and major religions share certain symbolic themes, motifs and patterns of behavior. In the Bill Moyers PBS Series, “The Power of Myth”, Campbell successfully introduced this broader understanding to a wide public.

The first computer-generated memory theatre, Memory Theatre One, was a remarkable achievement by Robert Edgar, designed for the Apple II in the late eighties. In 1999 a thoughtful discussion of 'The Computer as Theatre of Memory' was set forth with admirable scholarship by Peter Matussek for the Max Planck Institute in Berlin.

We believe that the field of cross-cultural storytelling will further illumine the transpersonal nature of the human psyche and offer a rich and compelling educational dimension for the modern public.

   
 
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