Dance Dome

Performa brings Francois Dallegret’s iconic “Environment-Bubble” to life

Art East
François Dallegret, with Dimitri Chamblas and François Perrin at Performa, Brooklyn Bridge Park (William Menking/AN)
François Dallegret, with Dimitri Chamblas and François Perrin at Performa, Brooklyn Bridge Park (William Menking/AN)

In 1965, architect François Dallegret was commissioned by Art In America to write an article “A Home is Not a House,” with his new acquaintance, English architectural historian Reyner Banham. The essay critiqued the American home’s lack of adequate protection from the elements and its antiquated “pipes based (on) a widespread use of heating pumps, a general waste of energy and the production of an ‘environmental machinery,'” according to writer Fosco Lucarelli.

Dallegret produced six “mechanical drawings” for the article that became one of the important sets of theoretical designs of the 1960s (along with David Greene’s “Log and Rockplug”). The best–known of this set of images is his now iconic The Environment-Bubble that featured a domestic tableaux and Banham’s face on Dallegret’s naked body in a perfect, clean, cybernetic paradise.

François Dallegret, The Environment-Bubble: Transparent Plastic Bubble Dome Inflated by Air-Conditioning, output showing architecture as a “fit environment for human activities,” from Reyner Banham, “A Home Is Not a House,” Art in America (April 1965). (1965 François Dallegret/Courtesy Socks Studio)

The Environment-Bubble remained simply a drawing until this year, when Francois Perrin joined together with Dallegret (and choreographer Dimitri Chamblas) to have it fabricated. Now Performa, the biennale performance festival in New York, has helped realize its installation for the first time at Brooklyn Bridge Park and at Central Park.

Performa describes the clear plastic bubble as “an active site of intellectual and physical engagement” with free, daily dance workshops, open to the public. Today, on Thursday, November 9, one-hour performances will take place in the bubble in Central Park’s Mineral Springs Lawn (Entry on West 69th Street) at 12pm and 2 pm.

If you cannot make it to the live performance, it is being live-streamed and posted here.

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