Architecture and Dance, a conversation!
(or about why it is interesting to talk today of a dialogue in between Dance and Architecture…)
BODY POLITICS- SOCIAL/CITY BODY- ECOSYSTEMIC BODY
Each of us cohabitating in this planet, we move, react, act or dream… according to the body image that we have of ourselves.
From different disciplines the name for this imagery is “body image” and it is different from other representations like the “body schema”. Both images are always interacting but there are differences in between them. The “body schema” is a non-conscious representation guiding our movements when we navigate. On the other hand, the “body image”, brings together the rest of representations not used for navigation. It is a conscious representation and includes conceptual aspects, political ones, gender, social, aesthetic issues, emotions, biological questions, temporal ones, etc.
These imaginaries are the ones that rule our societies and if not all of them are referred apparently to bodies, under our point of view, all of them are ¡yes! rooted in body imageries.
If there is a discipline going deep into these body images, revealing them, this is dance!
This is why I believe that a conversation today, a continuous dialogue between dance and architecture, is especially fruitful since we also do architecture following these same imaginaries … and it is long time ago that we should have changed them.
For this conversation I will focus in three architectural-corporal imaginaries that emerge from dance. The three can give us desirable design agendas.
1-“THERE ARE MULTIPLE BODIES… BUT ALSO, EACH BODY IS MULTIPLE”
>>> or let’s talk about POLITICAL BODY
DISPLACEMENT – Mithkal Alzghair
In “DISCPLACEMENT” Mithkal Alzghair research the social and political roots that are present in traditional Syrian dances. From there, goes deeper in what happens when bodies are forced to be displaced.
The social and political roots cross also over our architectures, are we aware of that?
There are multiple bodies; we must design for all of them.
But also each body is multiple since we continually confront it from different points of view that affect them: gender, political, racial, aesthetic, medical, biological aspects … there is a long etc. … and the question is, can we incorporate sensitivity into our design agendas so that these bodies develop in an original way, without coercion towards difference, without prejudice? So that everyone is diverse, in healthy growth, creative and also supportive?
The architectures that we design can be inclusive or exclusive and hierarchical; they can give bodies agency and participation or subdue them…
The imaginary of a standard body for which we design- still present in so many manuals, universities and academies- is not real, and dance shows it to us.
2-“BODIES EXUDE AMBIANCES (≠ SPACES) … LIKEWISE ENVIRONMENTS CROSS THE BODIES”
>>> or let’s talk about SOCIAL/CITY BODY
SLOW WALK. MY WALKING IS MY DANCING- Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker
“SLOW WALK” is a project by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker in which groups of all kinds of people cross the city (so far Paris, Brussels and Bruges) from different geographical points until they come together in a certain place. The walking speed here is less than 5 meters per minute. The total march of each group is about 4 hours.
La lentitud transforma al completo el escenario urbano. La lentitud permite observar de otra forma y que el ambiente incida sobre los cuerpos. La lentitud diseña una ciudad distinta, una ciudad exudada por el lento caminar de las personas. Una conciencia somática que se nutre de lo urbano. La lentitud hace que nos podamos pasar la ciudad por el cuerpo.
Slowness completely transforms the urban scene. The slowness allows observing in a different way and allows the environment to really affect the bodies. Slowness designs a different city, a city exuded by the slow walk of people. Reaching a somatic consciousness that is nourished by the urban. The slowness forces that we feel the city in our flesh.
Performance and habits are tools of design. Architecture can host diverse practices or can mute and erase them. The body in its movement is an agent of design.
The imaginary saying that space is empty, and that it is filled with objects, and that that space is static and is fully designed in our tables is not true. Dance shows us that instead of talking about “spaces” maybe we should talk about “ambiances” or “mediums”. “Mediums” host life and they are in interaction with their beings. Spaces are abstracts and death.
3-“SOMATIC COALESCENCE BRING US CLOSER TO PANARCHIC SOCIO-POLITIC-ENVIERONMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS”
>>> or let’s talk about ECOSYSTEMIC BODY
RIZOMA- Sharon Fridman
“RIZOMA” (nido) is a piece by Sharon Fridman with multiple performances. A group of about 70 people (dancers and non dancers) move in a location of historic and/or ecological meaning. Within RIZOMA, people discover that their practices can be linked to the ones of other non-human organisms, or objects, in order to share in between all of them a huge body in synergy, a common body able to be developed through mutual care. We call this “somatic coalescence”.
If we quote the piece:
“The predicted disaster happened and threw us to the ground. We lost consciousness. Very slowly we began to move, like newborns, with great care not to harm nature, not to harm ourselves. We connect with each other, and together we look for natural lines of development… until we find a territory from which to depart, for the first time.”
If we are ecological body, it means that we are part of a system, a system that we don’t control. We are just one more agent within it. In tis system, non-human organisms are as valuable than human ones. Can we think about an architecture able to be in somatic coalescence with all forms of life? Our “The skin in the air” project believes so.
In this order of things, architecture will be part of a pan-socio-political-environmental system: in which power emerges equally from each part in absolute cooperation but also in originality and infinite diversity.
The imaginary that defines architecture as a cultural construction that has nothing to do with nature is false, and its systems affect and are affected by the environment, because it is part of it. Architecture also exudes medium.
Author: María Auxiliadora Gálvez