For its eighth iteration, the Performa Biennial (Performa 19) will be embodying the radical spirit of the Bauhaus, which celebrates its centennial this year, with performances across New York City. Investigating the confluence of artistic, technological, and political events that birthed the interdisciplinary school in its own day, Performa 19 reframes the 1923 exhibition Art and Technology; The New Unity to consider “what is the art school of the 21st century?” Taking place over the course of three and a half weeks in November, the biennial will include commissions from global artists including Korakrit Arunanondchai, Ed Atkins, Nairy Baghramian, Tarik Kiswanson, Paul Pfeiffer, and Samson Young. There will also be partnerships with numerous other institutions in the collaborative, multidisciplinary spirit of the Bauhaus. “One of Performa’s important roles is to provide critical historical background and context for today’s performances by visual artists,” explained RoseLee Goldberg, founding director and chief curator of Performa. And history, power, and architecture will be taken up by many of the artists. Baghramian, for example, will use dance and theater to investigate the role of the body and gender in architecture and domestic space, while Arunanondchai will create a musical that draws from the Thai tradition of Ghost Cinemas, outdoor movie screenings that began after the Vietnam War as a way for the living and dead to commune among one another. In addition to these new commissions, legendary dancer and choreographer Yvonne Rainer and dance scholar Emily Coates will reconstruct Rainer’s 1965 piece Parts of Some Sextets from materials held at the Getty archives. While we often think of the Bauhaus as a school of architecture and design, Goldberg pointed out that the architecture department was itself slow to launch, yet “a theater department was there at the beginning. [It] took the form of a centralized workshop for exploring cross-disciplinary projects; the drawing department used it to examine movements of the body in space, visual artists and photographers to explore lighting design, and performers and designers to construe fabulous parties, such as the Metal Party.” Drawing upon the department and school's inventive legacy, as well as engaging publications like The Bauhaus Stage, Performa 19 will exhibit how theater at the Bauhaus, and performance more broadly, bridge disciplines and connect bodies and spaces through time. Performa 19 will run from November 1 to November 24, 2019, in New York City.
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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. 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.
Performa, an organization dedicated to live performance across various disciplines, will be launching a new program centered around the relationship between architecture and performance in New York City for their seventh edition of the Performa Biennial. The program, titled Circulations, is comprised of site-specific live performances and architectural experimentations in iconic venues throughout the city. Through performance, Circulations aims to examine the movement of bodies in space while looking at how architecture exists in today’s built environment. “From our daily routines, to the spaces that Performa identifies as frame or backdrop for Performa Commissions, it is the built environment that shapes our behavior and impacts our understanding of space,” said RoseLee Goldberg, founding director and curator of Performa, in a press release. Projects by various architects will be brought to life. Montreal-based architect François Dallegret’s “The Environment-Bubble,” a blueprint envisioning a flexible dome capable of hosting multiple occupants, will become a (temporary) reality and roam the city as an inflatable structure, hosting dance workshops. Philip Johnson’s Glass House will be occupied by French artist Jimmy Robert, transforming the icon into a stage “that delves into the intersections of architecture, visibility, and black representation.” Other artists and architects will present installations and performances, including a collaboration between the Marching Cobras of New York, a Harlem-based after-school drum line and dance team, with Bryony Roberts and Mabel O. Wilson, architects and professors at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP). This performance, "Marching On," was commissioned by the Storefront for Art and Architecture. “New York, with its dense urban fabric and complex history—from its Downtown mystique to its real estate–driven present—is the ideal location for a program like this,” said Charles Aubin, principal curator of Circulations, in the press release. “The artists and architects treat the city as a platform for experimentation where human beings and their activities confront the built environment.” Performa will also be launching a publication focusing on historical and contemporary works by architects who have incorporated performance into their practice, as well as a symposium that further examines the historical relationship between buildings and cities. Circulations will take place from November 1 to 19, 2017.
Performa, an organization that is committed to live performance in a wide variety of fields, has announced Christoph A. Kumpusch and his office, Forward Slash ( / ) Architektur, as the winner of its first global competition for the design and realization of the Performa Hub. Forward Slash will construct their installation in downtown Manhattan at 47 Walker Street for the Performa 15 event that is on this year from November 1 through 22 at various locations across New York City. “Since Performa 09, Performa has had a strong architectural component, and the Hub has been the experimental locus for architecture that works as backdrop and stage, think-tank and gathering place for the arts community in New York," RoseLee Goldberg, founding director and curator of Performa, said in a statement. “The competition process has allowed us to get closer to those architects who think about such activated architecture all the time," he continued. "We’re thrilled to work with Christoph and his team on a space whose shape and function will necessarily change hour by hour." Performa Hub is physical realization of Performa's vision, where participants can be enticed and exposed to this vision either via a clever articulation of space. This can be done by directing them literally to various activities through conventional seating plans or by moving walls to create different spaces like recording studios, box offices, reading rooms, meeting spaces, lecture theaters, performance and exhibition spaces, food venues, and more. The Hub is also a place for the Performa Institute to call home, acting as a vehicle for research and educational elements related to the biennial and a space for artistic experimentation. “Performing Architecture’ requires structures and geometry defined by dynamic movement of theatrical elements,” Kumpusch said in a statement. “It also intensifies and underlines the gestures of the artists and the action of the performance to embody these new possibilities, or modes of participation, and to dramatize the activities themselves in appropriate, urban structures.”