Simran Gupte (she/her)
Perpetual thinker, observer, creator
I am an Interior and Public Space Designer currently investigating the portrayal of gender identities through spaces staged by theatre and films.
As an Interior Design Masters graduate from The Glasgow School of Art, my design mythology has led me to explore the notional boundaries of the built environment and question the guise of familiarity and domesticity in creating distinctive spatial experiences.
My projects use phenomenology and autoethnography as a basis for exploring bodily situations in interiors. They showcase an informed interest in evidencing theatricality through the quotidian relationships between humans and their surroundings.
A film is a window to reflecting one’s inner thoughts that depart themselves from a world confined by a screen. In my opinion, it is a version of reality that takes inspiration from the mundanity and shapes us as a society. We, as an audience forming this society, can identify films the way we have experienced them in our reality. The visual cues presented through set designs help convey narratives that further help an audience identify characters. Thus, this project challenges the staged spaces that showcase female inhabitation by highlighting a fine line between the dissolution of these characters and the definition of their spaces.
How do set designs portray female inhabitation through objects, spaces and movements?
The project presents a cohesive research that first analyses how female identities are placed within narratives, then dissects set designs to understand how visual cues add to helping an audience relate to these narratives. It studies spaces w.r.t. female protagonists of two series and a film – Iris of The Bletchley Circle San Francisco (2018), Annalise Keating of How To Get Away With Murder (2014-20) and Marla of I Care A Lot (2020).
Phenomenological explorations first helped situate me as an audience trying to understand why I’m shown certain things in a certain way. Then, placing my body to imitate the journeys of the characters helped me understand why I do certain things in a certain way. The theoretical research, dissection in addition to these explorations provided an understanding of inhabitation, and its complex friction with identities.
Retrace is a research project that explores spatial choreography through memory. Stimulated by the idea of “emergence” as described by Graham Harman in the book Object Oriented Ontology: A New Theory of Everything, this research places an inanimate, yet discontinuous emergent entity, a situation, at the heart of the site. This very situation dominates a female human occupant, who, through movements, tries to recreate her domestic space in a weather radar.
‘We live in worlds in which the material and the mental, the experienced and the remembered, and imagined completely fuse into each other.’ (Pallasmaa, 2005)
The study dissects ways in which one remembers object-related movements that are embedded through sensory attachment and habituation; even to an extent that one is able to recreate these movements in a new space and time.
The resultant (linked below) is a video that showcases a choreography of movements catalysed by the situation in a weather radar and inflicted by the domestic memory of the female occupant.
Dialogue in Disguise
Dialogue in Disguise is a site-specific theatre design derived from highlighting the interchanging character-audience relationships between occupants of a public space. It frames Glasgow’s Charing X Railway Station as a proscenium and capitalises on its horizontally changing landscape. It develops direct and indirect interactions amongst occupants and the built environment through the use of visual cues that generate a sense of familiarity.
The research studies situations in terms of staged furniture set ups, materiality and textures, rhythmic movements, views and lights to highlight unintentionally formed relationships in public places. It creates a metaphorical theatre that then places these familiar elements to develop dialogues in disguise.