Finnish practice JKMM’s newest project, The Dance House Helsinki, is set to become Finland’s first venue dedicated primarily to dance and the performing arts. Offering rehearsal and performance spaces for artists, Dance House forms an extension to Cable Factory, the largest existing cultural center in Finland.
Dance: The Latest Architecture and News
Mal Pelo, with the artistic co-direction of Pep Ramis and María Muñoz, is a creative group characterized by shared authorship. Since 1989, Mal Pelo has been developing its own artistic language through the movement, incorporating theatricality with the creation of dramaturgies that include the word, working with composers for the creation of original soundtracks, collaborating with video artists, among others.
What do dance and architecture have in common? It's difficult to explain how our experiences of dance are stored in our bodily memory, but central to our recollection of a performance is the architectural space that it inhabited. Although dance may have been the central focus, the site is integral to its experience. Both disciplines are fundamental when exploring the ways we navigate and create cities and urban spaces.
It's no surprise that many choreographers explore both disciplines: dance and architecture. These pieces question how our bodies navigate through built environments. However, it is important to note that this experimentation is not merely contemplative but speaks to the way specific groups of peoples and cultures operate in their surroundings. In the words of the philosopher Marina Garcés: "The body is no longer what is and binds us to a place, but it is the condition for every place. It is the zero point of all the spatialities that we can experience, and at the same time, all the links that constitute us, materially and psychically."
What is a building that is not inhabited? Is it still architecture? Could we say that we live in a daily choreography where our everyday life is in constant movement with the world around us? Different philosophers and theorists have long addressed the issue that architecture is not simply a set of concrete, steel, and glassware ready to protect its users, but rather all the actions it harbors, all the bodies, and set of breaths and movements. This has been reinforced by different theories that approach the body as an actor of place. However, theories of the body in architecture are not as rare as we might believe. From Ergonomics to Le Corbusier's "Modulor," theorist have sought to understand our relationship with architecture.
In 1961, the architect Louis I. Kahn was commissioned by the Fine Arts Foundation to design and develop a large arts complex in central Fort Wayne, Indiana. The ambitious Fine Art Center, now known as the Arts United Center, would cater to the community of 180,000 by providing space for an orchestra, theatre, school, gallery, and much more. As a Lincoln Center in miniature, the developers had hoped to update and upgrade the city through new civic architecture. However, due to budget constraints, only a fraction of the overall scheme was completed. It is one of Kahn’s lesser-known projects that spanned over a decade, and his only building in the Midwest.
Choreographed Performance at Farnsworth House Explores “Queer Space” in the Work of Mies van der Rohe
This article was originally published on the blog of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, the largest platform for contemporary architecture in North America. The 2017 Biennial, entitled Make New History, will be free and open to the public between September 16, 2017 and January 6, 2018.
“Writing about music is like dancing about architecture.” This famously misattributed analogy has floated through the arts world for decades as shorthand for the difficulty of imposing the gestures of one creative discipline onto another. But why should dance and architecture get lost in translation? Isn’t there an inherent poetry to the movement of bodies navigating the built environment?