Ruin Lust and the Council Estate
Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Reason for embargo
Arinze Kene's domestic drama, God's Property (Soho Theatre 2013), is set on a council estate in Deptford, South East London in 1982. The play focusses on the aftermath of longstanding racial tensions in the area that led to the 1981 Brixton Riots - a series of violent confrontations between the police and, primarily, members of the local African-Caribbean community. This article positions the council estate as an archetypal contemporary ruin. I provide an analysis of God's Property, which examines the complexities thrown up by the paradoxical estate narratives of nostalgia and ruin and the particular complications that the historical and current context of race and racial difference in South East London adds to these narratives. I offer an autoethnographic reading of the performance, framing my analysis within a lived understanding of South East London. In this way, I propose that the council estate setting of the play coupled with the realist detail in which the domestic space was depicted evoked a complex nostalgic affect that we might consider within a paradigm of ruin aesthetics.
Copyright © 2015 Taylor & Francis
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Performance Research: A Journal of the Performing Arts on 23 June 2015, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13528165.2015.1049034#.VegJ9J1wbcs
Vol. 20, Iss. 3, pp. 29 - 38