Ten Tiny Dances – Architects Draw

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Performance and temporary installation commission for the South Waterfront Artist in Residence Program. Located in the South Waterfront District of Portland, OR. 2008
Size: 20,000 sf with a duration of 2 Hours

“The principal value to him [the architect] in freehand drawing lies in the act of disciplining the whole organism ó his own, that is ó in order to understand with every fiber in his body the true nature of space.” Dore Ashton “The Free Hand”

This event invited performance-based artists to create site-specific works within the high-rise towers of the new South Waterfront development. The only constraint was a 4’x4′ stage- the signature component of the Ten Tiny Dances performance series. Choosing a freshly scraped site along the industrial edge of the new neighborhood, we began by asking ourselves how could we, as architects, see the site as more than a blank slate?

In walking through this landscape we found a shared desire to somehow use our bodies as drawing tools, making large-scale, real-time “life” drawings that directly respond to the features of the landscape. We set to work re-imagining the given 4×4 stage as series of “surveying suits” that extruded pink survey string to layout full scale drawings of surrounding, soon-to-be-erased, features- cranes, barges, bridges, power lines and clouds.

“Even the object most familiar to our eyes becomes totally different if one applies oneself to drawing it: one perceives that one didnít really know it, one had never really seen it.” Paul Valery, “Degas, Dance and Drawing”

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