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Steven Holl and Jessica Lang’s “Tesseracts of Time” Explores the Relationship Between Architecture and Dance

“Writing about music is like dancing about architecture”

This well-known quote, most often attributed to comedian Martin Mull, compares attempting to explain music’s complex auditory intricacies with words to trying to interpret architectural forms through the motion of the human body – the underlying implication, of course, that it’s fruitless. 

But take a closer inspection of the analogy. Music and writing may be media for disparate senses, but, at their height, dance and architecture share a realm of space and light; both perform as formal exercises that relate to the human proportion of the body. Must dancing about architecture truly be an exercise in futility?

A year after premiering at the 2015 Chicago Architecture Biennial, last week Steven Holl and dance choreographer Jessica Lang’s “Tesseracts of Time” made its New York debut at the City Center mainstage. The 21-minute performance, designed as a part of Holl’s ‘Explorations of IN’ project, explores the relationship between performance and environment through four phases, which the designers liken to the passing of the four seasons.

Steven Holl Architects Breaks Ground on the “Ex of In" House in New York

Model. Image Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects
Model. Image Courtesy of Steven Holl Architects

Steven Holl Architects has broken ground on the “Ex of In House,” an experimental guest house and artist studio in Rhinebeck, New York. The house is part of the firms’ ongoing research project “Explorations of In,” which questions “current clichés of architectural language and commercial practice” and explores spatial language, energy, openness and public space.