Performing Architecture requires structures and geometry defined by dynamic movement of theatrical elements. Within Kumpusch’s [hub], there is a blurring of performing architecture, performance architecture, and performed architecture as the space adapts, adjusts, and at certain times, precludes the movements and actions to be performed, creating a shift in not only the action, but the space itself.
The theater is focusing on six core elements: stage, curtain, set, audience, light, and performer. Detaching the elements from their traditional configurations allows recombining and shifting orientations, accommodating innovative programs and forming an interactive relationship between audience and action. Reversing traditional relationships, Christoph a. Kumpusch and Forward slash ( / ) turn the theater inside out: backstage becomes audience, audience becomes performance, etc. The clarity of typologies and performed roles is lessened.
Detaching the elements from their traditional configurations allows recombining and shifting orientations, accommodating innovative programs, and forming an interactive relationship between audience and action, the performance and the performed.
The theater becomes a form of spatial urbanism with organic functions and configurations. Performa 2015 is a consciously dramatic setting for the more sublimated urges of human culture. The [hub] fosters art and is art. The [hub] creates the theater and is theater. [Performance architecture] intensifies and underlines the gestures of the artists and the action of the performance to embody these new possibilities, or modes of participation, and to dramatize the activities themselves in appropriate, urban structures.
The six elements within the [hub] are:
Stage (Solid): the stage acts as a static dynamic solid, able to move vertically in accordance with the program and other elements movements. The stage has two performance modes: as a platform for multiple performances simultaneously and a raised lounge table that creates a large workshop space.
Curtain (Plane): the curtain divides and subdivides space, retracts and expands to accommodate various modes of performance, and recreates the exciting moment when the curtain opens.
Set (Frame): the set reflects and projects the elements of performance, collapsing audience and action, allowing the audience to act as part of the performance.
Audience (Void): The audience becomes part of the performance space inhabiting the void around the stage. Within this void, there can be two types of Performance modes, the first as a Group, with stepped seating creating an elevated viewing platform for 40 people; dynamic in its ability to open, rotate, and pivot in plan, it creates multiple entry points for performers and constantly shifts the relationship between audience and action. Secondly, there is the Individual. This mode of inhabitation exists as a movable stool, the audience is singular.
Performer (Point): The performers act as the force moving all elements, the energy of matter.
Light (Particle): Projecting and illuminating space, independent from—yet defining—form.
The elements, when combined, create a fourth dimension of expressive temporality, a new dimension—or mode—of experience. The place [the hub], defined by the action and interaction of its elements creates a landscape changing over the course of time, constantly reconstructing the lost/last moments, reflecting, and inviting reflection on the performances held within its shifting zones.
The design won an international competition and was selected by a jury consisting of RoseLee Goldberg, the Founding Director and Curator of Performa; Steven Holl, the founder of Steven Holl Architects; Amale Andraos, Dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and Principal of WORKac; Noam Andrews, Board of Directors of Performa; Eva Franch i Gilabert, Executive Director and Chief Curator of Storefront for Art and Architecture; Bjarke Ingels, founder of BIG; Dakota Jackson, founder of Dakota Jackson; and Charles Renfro, Partner at Diller Scofidio + Renfro.
I coordinated the daily construction of the hub off-site in East Elmhurst, NY and at 47 Walker St. in TriBeCa. The fabrication team consisted of Ali Fouladi, Alessandra Calaguire, Andras Balla, Brendan O'Shea, Grey Wartinger, Mike Tingen, and Walter Sueldo. Photos and video were shot by Cecil Barnes V and Brendan O'Shea.