Chicago 2017 – American actor and singer Martin Mull once criticised music critics saying that “writing about music is like dancing about architecture”. Four architecture-driven performing arts projects at Chicago Architecture Biennial kind of proved him wrong. Are performing arts the new medium to narrate architecture?
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At the Garfield Park Conservatory, SO-IL and Ana Prvacki showcased the L’air pour l’air musical performance with artists wearing air-filtering costumes which were designed to clean the air through breathing. Each white enclosure was shaped to accommodate the different musical instruments. “The installation and performance encourage its viewers to meditate upon the complex notions such as the relationship between purity and pollution, and the distinctions between self, body, objects, and nature,” said a statement from US architecture firm SO-IL.
Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House in Chicago’s western suburbs host the third chapter of Gerard & Kelly’s Modern Living series of site-specific performances and videos exploring how architecture can shape our domestic rituals and inter-presonal interaction.
How best to architecturally create a magical space? Asked artist Nick Cave to Chicago architect Jeanne Gang. At the Navy Pier ballroom, a flexible environment of more than 200 reflective silver Stage Buoys to defined and interacted with Cave’s performances with dancers wearing colorful costumes.
How do artists appropriate the various methods used in architecture? 13 artists took over the iconic Palais de Tokyo designed by Burnham & Root in 1881 with original productions and pre-existent works. Among the installations Andrew Schachman’s Observatory, a ten-step wooden lookout offering a panoramic view of the scene and Thomas Teurlai’s Score for Bodies and Machines which employs photocopies to create a visual maze and amplified copier noise to fill the rotund space.
“Performance art is a medium of growing importance and brings to the biennial a time-based component that most traditional mediums could not.” Says co-curator Mark Lee to Dezeen.
• RELATED STORIES: Read more about dance related architecture projects…