Back to overview

Unfolding dispositions: proto-choreographic strategies and drawing between architecture and the performative

English title Unfolding dispositions: proto-choreographic strategies and drawing between architecture and the performative
Applicant Dupuis Aurélie
Number 195139
Funding scheme Doc.Mobility
Research institution Yale School of Architecture Yale University
Institution of higher education Institution abroad - IACH
Main discipline Architecture and Social urban science
Start/End 01.11.2021 - 30.04.2022
Show all

Keywords (12)

art performance; notation ; dance; Yvonne Rainer; John Hejduk; collective process; virtual; architectural drawing; body; minor histories; affect; gesture

Lay Summary (French)

Les années 1960-80 à New York sont le cadre de pratiques expérimentales et collectives radicales dans les arts. La danse postmoderne (Judson Dance Theater, Yvonne Rainer) et la performance impliquent les dimensions collective et politique du corps dans leur travail. Certains architectes se préoccupent également du rôle du mouvement et du collectif dans l’invention de nouvelles spatialités (Cooper Union, John Hejduk). Ces différentes approches sont abordées comme autant de ‘stratégies chorégraphiques’.
Lay summary

Le contexte new-yorkais des années 1960-80 a connu de nombreuses expérimentations artistiques autour des dimensions politique et collective du corps, mettant en évidence la nécessité d’une recherche approfondie sur ces thèmes que poursuivront notamment les départements de Performance studies. Si la scène de l’architecture new-yorkaise a brièvement été exposée à cette effervescence artistique et sociale, ces dimensions ont ensuite toujours occupé une place mineure par rapport aux discours dominants de la discipline. Ce projet explicite l’importance de ces pratiques et connaissances pour la discipline architecturale. 

Dans un premier temps, le projet établira un champ commun entre la performance et l’architecture en rassemblant une série de concepts issus des deux champs autour de notions comme la latence, l’indéterminé et la performativité pour, dans un deuxième temps, identifier des traces de superpositions fertiles entre ces champs : travail d’archives dans certains fonds-clé documentant ces évènements, et interviews avec des personnes centrales dans la continuation et la théorisation de ces expérimentations. Finalement, un travail approfondi dans deux fonds d’archives (Yvonne Rainer, John Hejduk) permettra de préciser l’importance et le rôle du dessin dans ces pratiques. 

Le projet intégrera des sources, concepts et méthodes issus du champ de la performance, de la géographie, de la philosophie, de l’art ou de l’anthropologie, permettant de mieux considérer les dimensions socio-spatiales latentes dans la pratique et la théorie architecturale. Il participe à la mise en évidence de pratiques spatiales mineures invisibilisées par les structures de pouvoir à l’œuvre dans la compréhension et la conception de l’environnement bâti. 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 30.05.2021

Responsible applicant and co-applicants


During the 1960s, several experimental collective practices gradually find themselves co-relating or collaborating in New York. With other dancers, choreographer Yvonne Rainer establishes the Judson Dance Theater in New York (1962-1964). Through transdisciplinary collaborations with musicians, poets or sculptors, the group radically questions presence, the body, the audience and the collective dimension as (the place of) art, and unfolds the political aspects of such approaches. Simultaneously, other innovative practices affirm performance as a new art form. These experiences all bring to the forefront the body and the collective dimension of spatiality. They are echoed in the rise of social sciences, which are interested in theatre and ritual as frameworks for thinking about everyday interactions, and in social issues and their spatial manifestations in the city during protests and marches which underline the transformative power of these social gatherings. All of these ingredients favour the emergence of a new field of research, performance studies, and of related places and institutions which then play a key role in its articulation with other cultural fields. In the 1980s, explicit links with architectural practices are visible: from the publication of Bernard Tschumi's Manhattan Transcripts (1981) to the creation of the cultural space Storefront for Art and Architecture. But these concerns for movement and emergence also find other kinds of echoes. This is the case with the practice of the architect John Hejduk, who as Dean (1975-2000) of the renowned Cooper Union School of Architecture, blends artistic practices and architecture in a non-linear way. He thus develops an understanding of architecture and drawing that explicitly addresses the spatio-temporal and latent dimensions of space and the collective. In our contribution to the conference City and Common(s) we showed how the singular newly attached to the common, thereupon seen as a production both plural and emerging, and the indeterminate and latent aspects of it constitute a destabilization of traditionally linear architectural processes and conceptions. To address this question, we proposed to draw resources from the diverse collective practices described above. There, latency and the virtual, defined by Deleuze as the immanent source of all things, are addressed in a productive way. They are brought to actualization by the different bodies, objects and spaces put in relation to each other through motion or the use of notation systems and drawing. The neologism proto-choreography thus defines a form of socially generative spatial practice, a collective process that works with the virtual dimension of bodies and matter to turn it into an active lever in the creation of new spatial and architectural articulations. It proposes an adequate framework to study further possible common ground between architecture and performing arts, as well as between dance notation systems and architectural drawing, in order to renew our understanding of their potential mutual benefits. In the framework of this research, we intend to document strategic but not yet considered common ground between architecture and performance. To develop the conceptual framework of our research (1), we will in collaboration with the host university, consider a series of concepts from both fields for addressing latency, indeterminacy, time-released capacities and the performative via new parallels between already established concepts. This will offer us strategies for (2) tracing the echoes and overlaps between practices in the two fields (1960-now) through archival work in the various spaces that have played a key role in the promotion of performing arts/alternative spatial practices (MoMA, MoMA PS1, Storefront for Art and Architecture, Cooper Union, Judson Memorial Church) and interviews in the field of Performance studies (Tisch School of the Arts (NYU), Brown University, Columbia University). Finally, we aim to (3) assess the roles and possibilities of drawing and notation in these collective processes of spatial production through comparing and systematizing the drawings and texts collected in the archives of two main study-cases, Yvonne Rainer and John Hejduk.