Malcolm McCullough – Stepping Off Camera
a dance building for Interlochen
With a project at Interlochen Center for the Arts, this studio engaged performing artists, dance students, a lakefront site, and a collection of stage venues quite different from the ones here at the University of Michigan. Founded a century ago as the National Music Camp, with a late-century campus master plan by Michigan modernist Alden Dow, and today a year-round degree-granting institution, Interlochen welcomed our studio inquiry, hosted us on a visit, and provided an abundance of resources. Like the University of Michigan, Interlochen likewise happens to have a new dance building under construction. With its emphasis on embodied form and motion, with its heightened sensitivity to interpersonal scale and spatial orientation, and with a much simpler set of technical requirements than professional stage theater, dance has provided a superb learning context for our studio. Our project contrasted three kinds of dance space: one a daylit, equipment-free natural studio, one a technology-rich practice space, and one a small studio-theater performance venue. The project was also an architecture of site, with sloping grounds, lakefront walkways, and adjoining the largest, best-known stage venues of Interlochen. Yet our frame of reference remained the practice of dance, with its emphasis on presence, which increasingly coincides with postdigital sensibilities about being here now–and not on the internet. Our studio put aside the image quests that Instagram induces, and just tried to
draw some fundamentals.
This proposed Interlochen lakefront dance building evokes a relationship to the concept of “deep time” – performing as a reference to the intrinsic geological narrative of the Great Lakes region, as well as a recollection of timeless human movement and dance. The dynamic massing is suggestive of a body in motion, creating form and space that seem to move as its intended inhabitants do. This contracting and expanding of space, in turn, generates unique interior moments for both dancer and audience. The project hopes to present a new manner of approach to existing conditions by intertwining Interlochen’s two innate and enduring histories.
Emely Ebersol – “Kinesthetic Theater”
Kinesthetic Theater: The spectator’s perception of dance is a form of performance in itself. Perception of a dance performance is shaped by a combination of conditions that include spatial atmosphere, kinetic and psychological histories, and previous encounters with dance. Kinesthetic empathy describes one’s ability to experience empathy merely by observing the movements of another human being, focusing on the experience of movement sensing and how movement makes sense. It is the ability to intuit what others are experiencing based on their bodily behavior, shaped greatly by how we’ve moved in the past.
While the two gabled forms in my project allude to the vernacular architecture of northern Michigan and specifically to the motley collection of small practice huts scattered throughout Interlochen, my attempt with this theatre proposal is to straddle a line between stylized “park rustic” and contemporary, while also providing the necessary enclusure required for performance. The connecting atrium, which houses the “natural” studio and is open to both campus and waterfront views, acts as foil to the stark flanking structures, whose hermetic quality is borne of necessity and as reaction to the excesses of “parkitecture.”