A performative Exploration of Space
A Choreography for the empty Museum
What does a museum do when the last exhibition has been dismantled, the exhibits are packed away, and the house is waiting to be renovated and extended? The Bauhaus-Archiv/Museum für Gestaltungfound an answer: for several weeks in spring 2018, the building could be visited free of charge as the "biggest exhibit in the collection". This was an unusual experience for visitors and an opportunity for the Bauhaus Agents Programme to make the architecture of the building designed by Walter Gropius into the subject of a project.
High-school students taking a course in "Performing Art" explored the building with choreographer Jo Parkes, examining the links between space and movement, and discovered the choreography of the architecture. Jo Parkes proposed the ramp as the starting point for their performative exploration of space, which – in addition to its characteristic silhouette–is a special architectural feature of the museum building. She developed a "pathway score", a "manual for movement exercises", for the route over the ramp to the museum entrance. From this first collection of movement sequences, students, teachers and artists worked together to develop a choreography as a collage of reactions to space, light, transparency, boundaries, symmetry, narrowness, width, height and depth. The students took possession of the large exhibition halls, worked on the development and perfection of their movement sequences, and allowed visitors to the empty museum to look over their shoulders in the process. These public rehearsals created the impression of a long-term performance, which was complemented by a public presentation to an invited audience on the last day of the project.
Susanne Ellen Kirchesch / Teacher responsible for the project
Jo Parkes / Choreography
Catrin Schmitt / Documentation
March to April 2018
Friederike Holländer / Bauhaus Agent
Teacher Susanne Ellen Kirchesch, herself a trained singer with stage experience, thus gave the students of her theatre course a completely new performative experience. The young people brought along their own interest in self-staging and performance. The museum staff were confronted with a new view of their exhibition spaces: the exhibits were not missed, and instead the students became living sculptures and their performance an exhibition.
The Bauhaus Agents Programme tested a new and unfamiliar method of communicating architecture: as a starting point for further experimental space exploration at other locations and as a building block for the development of an outreach programme for the extended Bauhaus Museum in Berlin.