27 nov. 2024
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Could architecture and dance be implicated in one another? What if to speak of one would be to speak of the other, but differently? By bringing together these two disciplines that inadvertently deal with questions of both space and movement, this symposium with Keynotes by Prof. Dr. André Lepecki (NYU Tisch) and architect Dr. Salima Naji wants to speculate on the altered relationship of mobility and the earth since modernity. For it seems that, through its quest for globalisation, modernity has severed the ties between movement and the earth in order to control the latter (including those beings who do not subscribe to modernity’s credo). Might it be possible to trace the role of, and impact on, the two disciplines in this process, through approaching architecture and dance as ecologies that are "about the interrelations between heterogeneous beings as such, without a transcendent common interest, […] or without mutual understanding" (Stengers 91)?
These ecologies seem to have articulated themselves in artistic practices. Already in the 1960s and 1970s figures such as Gordon Matta-Clark and Trisha Brown have been concerned with the relationship of movement and space, through work that intersected with both architecture and dance. They anchored their work in the worldthrough which they moved – primarily through non-institutionalised spaces - or handled ‘the site’ also as the work’s ‘content’ (Kwon 26). In architectural practices similar ecologies might be traced between space and movement. The work of Juhani Pallasmaa and Lina Ghotmeh, for example, respectively affirm the dweller in their full multi-sensorial experience, and the building as intrinsically part of the earth, or site, it arises from. Thus appear critiques on the modernist inheritance of architecture as a mere visual object dislodged from its communities and surroundings.
How, then, to think these architecture-dance-ecologies, without artificially severing the relationships that constitute them? How to safeguard the ability of the heterogeneous beings that engage in these relations to demand attention and, therefore, to insist on their ‘ontological consistency’ (Morizot 17)? By analysing site specific dance solely in relation to alternative spaces, for example, the space of the performance is reduced to a flat background, losing meaning and importance. Or else, architectural photos, plans, renders and sketches that hardly depict life within the built environment, or do so solely to make comprehensive the scale of the building, confine movement and the context of the space to a subservient position