Movement Intervention within British Post-War Architecture (2014)

Jaimie Henthorn

About this exposition

This exposition considers movement intervention in architectural spaces as a form of artistic practice and potential research methodology. Examples of movement intervention within architecture in contemporary artworks are examined, helping to describe the parameters of this technique. Phenomenological aspects of these artworks, such as kinaesthetic empathy and the ubiquitous and physical context of architecture, are discussed. These can distance the viewer from an automatic understanding of the relationship between body and building, and introduce the potential for meaning beyond familiar ways of addressing architecture, such as through writing. The exposition centres on two on-site movement interventions by the author at post-war British buildings, St Peter’s Seminary, designed by Gillespie, Kidd and Coia, and the tower housing blocks Bevin Court and the Sivill House, designed by Berthold Lubetkin, and examines how the works relate to these contexts as a space both of creation and of reception. These movement interventions address the similar cultural circumstances of these sites as well as their dissimilar current status. The exposition concludes with an assessment of the validity of the kinetic human body as a research tool and the capacity for artworks resulting from movement intervention to engage the viewer and contribute to existing architectural discourse.
typeresearch exposition
affiliationTrinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
published inJournal for Artistic Research

comments: 2 (last entry by Victoria Hunter - 04/06/2014 at 13:30)
Emma Meehan 26/05/2014 at 14:28

This exposition is interesting in how it explores ‘architectural movement intervention’, interweaving knowledge of specific architectural design components, use value of spaces and the enactment of performance interventions. The exposition contextualises the artistic works through reference to theories of Adorno and Husserl, along with the history of architecture. The author’s in-depth knowledge of architecture is extremely useful in excavating how space links with human participation and bodily performance. Particular elements that inspired me as a reader include the artwork Bevin Court and the Sivill House, where a resident starts jumping rope in the space as the performance intervention takes place. This clearly connects with the author’s discussion of how architectural design encourages communities to interact with and inhabit spaces. I was also drawn to the ‘context of reception’ which explored the setting of the artworks in different spaces, examining how changing ‘site’ can impact the artwork but also how it can further the research ideas on the relationship architecture and artwork.

Victoria Hunter 04/06/2014 at 13:30

This is a very interesting and engaging exposition of a site-based creative process. The artist's engagement with Husserl and Adorno's theories, in particular notions of intersubjectivity and 'pairing' help to articulate the creative approach and inform the reading of the performance work. The artist's knowledge of architectural practice is usefully employed to inform the development of the practice-based research that questions and interrogates body-architecture relationships and explores the emerging findings through movement and dance. The artist's reflection on the work is critically informed and some interesting insights are presented, the visual material and performance footage presented helps to create a clear picture of the work and situates the reader / viewer well within a particular performance / research 'world'. I enjoyed reviewing this work and welcome this type of discursive documentation as a valuable record of site-specific dance / movement practice that clearly explicates  a particular practice-based approach.

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