About Arch

... An exploration of participation, art and architecture in the city to inform a concept for engagement with the local community via artistic intervention... offering to our client a point of departure for the continuation of these ideas in their future work.

Friday, October 17, 2008

OK Go - Here It Goes Again

Dance on the treadmills which was mentioned in the meeting today!

One of my all time favourite music videos!

More about the song and the video: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Here_It_Goes_Again

Enjoy! :)

A reenactment by students for a talent show in a High School

Pictorial Thinking

Stream of consciousness - thoughts from salsa night etc

"... a transformable, changing space for performance..."
Re-reading parts of Richard Sennett's book reminded me of the fact that the city can act as a backdrop to one's actions...the idea that one is an 'actor' in public space, and not entirely oneself.
"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages."
(Shakespeare, As you like it, 2/7)
This provoked several surprising thoughts - while many seem to feel the need to consume a few drinks before getting out on the dance floor, I am quite the reverse. The dancefloor is one of the few places where I feel I can truly be myself, without inhibition, and be 'fully expressive' -particularly with salsa. The 'performance arena' gives me the confidence to do things outwith my normal comfort zone; it provides context. Tuesday's session being a prime example, where I was much more forward than I would ever be in usual social circumstances.
The idea of 'usual social circumstances' is itself challenged by our public engagement in salsa. The class, albiet a formalised setting, is a meeting of strangers. Yet a sense of belonging to the group soon develops. Like at a bus stop, the common activity - of waiting, a shared moment/experience - or a clumsy move in salsa gives one a feeling of inclusion. The environment is longer a threatening room of strangers, but a bunch of friendly people who want to engage with one another. It is also interesting in the fact that it challanges the comfort zone of intimacy with strangers. A dance floor can be packed, forcing dancers within each others' personal space...I like the phrase, 'dancing on a postage stamp'...which can be very uncomfortable with a stranger. However, in the context of dance, I realised that it often feels more awkward to comply with conventional personal boundaries than to get 'up close and personal', at which point the movement usually becomes freer and the dancers connect both literally on a more intimate level but are also more 'in tune' with each other. The people who come to these classes are all there for different reasons, but the general feelings exuding from the group en masse on the dance floor were enjoyment, relaxation and a sense of fun... I think we may even get the more sceptical 'non-dancers' of the group up on the dancefloor next week!
Music, for me, is critical to dance. You can dance to 'silence', but I would assume usually there would be an internalised soundtrack for this activity. This rather raises the question of what dance would be without music. A decontextualised awkwardness of movement highlighting the oddity of 'unconventional' movement? What would a world be like without any music? Could we call the noises of the everyday the soundtrack to the city - a backdrop to its activities?
How does this relate to Trish's point of feeling one's personal space can be invaded by noise? It would seem to me that today's society is one that is rarely subject to complete silence - even traffic noises are probably continually supplemented by music as we all walk around with headphones jammed into our ears. Does this focus ourselves on the self and our own movements as we respond to the soundtrack in our heads, or is the reverse, that we detach ourselves from the physical realm, both other people and the built environment, true?
Who knew a night on the dance floor could bring out such deep questions!?!?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Images - to go with the film (below)

Taken the same day as filming, exploring the snapshot views of movement and grouping. Note the sneaky video camera in some of the pictures...

Study of the Bus stop as a STAGE

Minutes for Client Meeting 10.10.08

Hayley/Helen - dissertation

Tilly : Brief description of how we got here, synopsis of postcard idea, early brainstorming, how we imagined the project to be, our thoughts, our aspirations this week and how we settled on bus-stop idea. Description of the brain storming which occurred post group meeting on Monday (06.10.08 ), the residue of the brainstorming session after we had time to dwell on it was discussed. Initial concept evidence presented to Simon and Trish.
Julie: Describes the movement she witnessed within Sharrow, description of ‘street piano’ installation which captured the hearts of many on Sharrow and the loss they felt when it was dismantled and moved on. The sadness of the community at this loss was documented in on-line forums on the internet, the notion that maybe these forums could become a physical hub for interaction in the public realm. A place which forces and encourages interactions with strangers and neighbours alike. Theoretical correlation with the work of ‘Richard Sennet’ , whereby the public space is equated as ‘theatre’. Re-imagining the everyday, re-appreciating the ordinary.
Trish: Comments on the bus stop as a starting point. She likes the idea of linking personalities. Remembers an installation in a bus station where an artist nestles in a bus station and asks people for information and stories. – a fond way of connecting with people. A network!
Simon: enjoys the idea of connection, the Sharrow prototype could offer the model for identical works in other cities, other countries. Can be linked in the dioramic scale locally but can be linked panoramically across countries. Interested in the potential for framing views as explored in Sharrow workshop last week.
: the bus stop is a simple structure which could be embellished more. Familiar to all people. “an interesting thing the dancers could interact with”. On analysing our postcards comments that (it) “could be something without a figure in it”, “visitor becomes involved- every time a bus arrives, a new audience arrives. “users become performers”. “where are people going when they wait on a bus? To meet a lover? To the hospital? To a birth? To a relative? Their story becomes interesting”. Bus etiquette dissected... who gets on first, where people stand, which way to look, codes of contact, dynamics of conversation, polite chit-chat. People say ‘thank you’ to the bus driver in Sheffield – a unique colloquial friendliness.
Simon: comments on how their work makes the ordinary extraordinary, celebrating and reawakening the ordinary. The world set to music, rhythm of people ‘plugged-in’ to iPods etc. People in their own musical bubble. Not desirable invasion of our own personal space when people play music out loud. Actions are always comfortable as long as we can move away to another location, very uncomfortable when trapped with a strangers unconventional actions. What is acceptable movement in public spaces?
Trish: lay down in city chambers, people showed affectionate glances rather than strangeness. Trish’s interest in occupying space at the time.

Pól and Jen’s Video watched for 4/5 minutes : study of how people move around bus-stops

Carolyn: informs us of the good news that Trish and Simon had secured a grant from the arts council to perform this research and pay the dancers, rent the Sharrow hall space etc and have some left over for materials. Interested in recycling materials. Good news on funding front.

Idea of temporariness of bus stop, The Sharrow forum group are interested in animating Sharrow with things such as street furniture, green spaces . A desire to adorn the journey to football matches from the train/ bus stops. (talk to Colin at Forum)
What happens old bus stops? Is there a bus-stop graveyard? Idea of promoting public transport.... celebrating bus stops. Forum have a relationship with the highways dept. (Colin, Dave Whickfield – 2508384). Maybe an audience travel around on a bus, various installations along the route. Transportable audiences.
Trish: Collect bus-stop stories. Use them as a vehicle to listen to the Sheffield people. Don’t be scared of community spin-off ideas. Memories of a place. Homely feeling, a familiarity of some bus trips.
Tea Break
Julie: introduces h r attempt at a stakeholder map. She describes how our project is alot more complex and loose than other groups as there is a very fluid tangy concept and not a prescripted brief and client map. She introduces her Venn diagram illustrating the links between numerous groups who all would have a ‘stake’ in this project.
The public are the main stakeholders in our project. Enforce a pride and sense of community in Sharrow. City council people should be interested. (Colin from distinctive Sharrow should have names and numbers of people on highways dept. Andrew has liaisons with creatives).
How do you get people into galleries to view art whom are unaccustomed to going into galleries. Reach out and offer art to the people.eg. ‘Encounters’ took over shops. Verify what we need to know from these people. Join the dots. Sheffield is called the ‘creative city’. Artists reside in the town hall so obviously the city inspires art.” This is a great time to do things like this” (apparently). Its all research in this project – do not get disillusioned by rejection, rejection is research. This is very challenging community engagement.
Simon: arts council see this as very important information we’re gathering, hence the funding. How do we get more people involved? Invite people to a performance. Generate your own ways of engaging with the public. Simon tells of an analogy whereby an old women posted him a ceramic piece of art to mark her 70th birthday and in return asked for him to post her something artistically valuable. Interest in getting things through the post. Get peoples postal address’.
Trish and Simon: Very happy so far, Strong ideas. Maybe we create a witty questionnaire for city officials. We need to catch their attention and get a response. ‘what’s your favourite dance’?
Dry stuff:
The pragmatics of this, boring council stuff. How can we make it happen? Health and safety compliance? Boring. Find a bus shelter graveyard.
Simon and Trish:
Physical object / Concept / Dance / Idea –what is it?
Trish sees it constructed in an interior space like a theatre or room. Simon sees this as an outdoor masquerade. Maybe both?!
Dancers will throw a whole new element into this fire. The ritual of dance needs to be seen in conjunction with this concept. Record what happens when we meet the dancers. Subtle interventions need to be documented. Get people to interact, maybe give them a reward ... cocktail umbrella/ reel of old bus tickets/ gift / keepsake.
Explore how to animate form railway station to Bramall lane, excite the ‘distinctive Sharrow’ group. (Simon Argall –Sheffield United)
Maybe get (Sue Beeley) to introduce us to GCSE students who may like an input.
Careful what you broadcast. Keep a lid on creative ideas in case other groups with more funding steal our ideas. Copyright is an interesting area. Monitor what is public / private. Especially Blog.
Too early for a tagline but ‘Sharrow as a stage’ is a great start.
Keep fluidity and anonymity , good to be invisible this early on. Studworks where musicians work – maybe enhance soundtrack to this ( Alan-Sheffield live- radio show)
Investigate the stakeholder map more , create more accurate adjacencies between groups.


1. Have a first go at a funding strategy (Jen and Hoi Sun)
2. Create a dance / Spontaneous installation involving dance (Pól, Tori, Kris,)
3. Coherent collection of information so far (6th years - post dissertation)
4. Create Postcard and email stakeholders (Tilly and Julie)
5. Minutes of meeting (Pól)
6. Video Camera resource (Jen or/and Kris)
7. Discuss privacy issues with blog (group)
8. Video installation at bus stop (Pól)

Inspiring MJ Tube dance

Monday, October 13, 2008

'Plan' of dancing

Tried to do some research on funding but end up daydreaming about dancing in the public.

I think it could be challenging to invite strangers to dance with us in the street as it is not ‘normal’ behavior in the public. So I try to find some interesting ways to break the ice.

Going back to my initial thinking of this project, I began in the search of the common ground between architecture and dance. I started looking in different ways of recording both art forms. Then I found the similarity of the plans of buildings and the steps of Waltz: both are 2-dimensional, yet by looking at them one can hardly picture what the building or dance could be like. And from the steps of Waltz, I start thinking other 2D images that restrict a person movement. Then I found Hopscotch.

Anyway, below is some suggestions of how to start a dance with stranger in public using the steps of Waltz and Hopscotch:

1. Teaching people how to dance.
Print the steps of Waltz on cardboards, and then invite people to dance by following the steps.
Or, just simply compose a set of movement and invite people to follow.

2. Learning how to dance.
Ask people to show what sort of dancing they like, and then we follow.

3. Playing games.
Print Hopscotch on cardboards, and then invite people to play with us.

Hmmm… these ideas are not yet good enough, but hopefully it helps!

Good luck!

we might have some competition...

brilliant video of a girl dancing in public spaces....


emancipating from the cannons of traditional representation

Bus Stop Ideas 08/10/08

Here I am livving in Sharrow

where the streets are too narrow,

I travel around in a wheel barrow

eating a marrowhere in Sharrow.

Not nice if you have a Car

'Cos its near Hunters Bar

Parking is few and far

Here in SharrowIts not Harrow

Some say Sharrow's a dump

That gives me the hump

'Cos when I'm in hurry

I go there for a curry.

In Sharrow makes me hurry.

There's a lump

That just may be a dump

Srry to hear of your ordeal,

For your pain I really do feel,

The tikka can be hot,

Really makes you trot,

Next time I suggest a pub meal

A poem about Sharrow - from the 'community'

Through the exploration of dance notation what can we learn about the limitations of Architecture and its representation of the architectural experinc

Key points of a dissertation relating Atrchitecture and Dance - Sundal Roy

  • Architecture exists wholly in any given moment; a dance peice in its entirety only last in the memory and imagination.

  • Both are experienced through passage of time and journey

  • Dance 'almost invisible', archietcture is 'almost permenant'.

  • So if we cannot perceive it except through the passage of time, do we know that the rest of it actually exists? Dance only exists when it is danced. After time, it is no longer perceived , therefore no longer exists. Yet, there is no way we can know if architecture really exists when we can no longer see it.

  • Architectural representation denotes the passage of time, depth and perception: we rely on our memory and experience to animate the representation

  • The nature of a space is defined by its boundaries, the objects that are placed within it. In this way, architecture is able to define space, by drawing attention to a version or versions of any of the infinite possibilities of the structurability of space.
    Yet it is when these boundaries are removed, when we consider chora as an informe, or formless space that it becomes difficult to define

  • ‘A dance sketches out a possible structure of space within an infinite set of possibilities. The dance is an exploration – a celebration perhaps – of the infinite structurability of space.’

  • It is dance’s evanescence that highlights the possibilities of the space. Through the passage of time, bodies in space eliminate the spatial structures in which they find themselves- they describe the space in which they are no longer found, but once were. Once danced, these possibilities exist only in our memories.

  • Architects have long struggled with the constraints of representing that which exists in three dimensions into two dimensions. This is a challenge enough without having to consider the fourth dimension- time.

Above: baroque dance notation indicating each step. What is not notated, and how would you notate this any way, is the movement between each step. The expression, the impulse are not accounted for.

  • Any type of preffesional notation in dance, architecture and music requires pre-requisite knowledge of notation; how to read adn understand it.

  • Notating danace with music locates the peice in time and space (Using Labanotation as below)

  • Above is an example of a planimetric drawing by the choreographer Trisha Brown. The full potential of this method as system of notation has not been exploited in this drawing, partly due to the lack of architectural context. The reason for this, as with all drawings, can be found in the purpose of the drawing. Trisha Brown’s drawings are not intended for the replication, restaging or even archiving her choreographies, let alone the representation of an experience

So how does dance relate to architecture?

  • As both dance and architecture are experienced through the body’s own senses, of which the most information, for the average person, is relayed through sight, a visual representation is the obvious choice. As we have seen, it is the purpose of the particular system of representation, be it architectural or with reference to dance, that determines its success. Personal repositories to be used by the individual choreographer as short-term memory triggers do not need to communicate all layers of information. It is sufficient, and even preferable to use reference points, such as figurative representations of the body, words or other symbolic diagrams which may be esoteric to the author. Each one of these has an association in the memory of the choreographer and are intended to trigger the necessary memories in order for the choreographer to recreate the intermediary phrases
  • Architectural representation, like choreography, makes assumptions about the understanding the reader has of its subject. It relies on the reader to imagine their own versions of the possibilities of the space they are comprehending
  • Where dance freezes the sequence of events, allowing the reader to understand the entire piece that unfolds over time, at their own pace, architectural representation privileges the “completed” architectural object, as if, once resolved, it is fixed in time. There is little recognition of the transition from building to architecture once it becomes occupied
  • Notation in any form emulates the objective, how do we encounter the subjective?
  • Movement, and therefore dance, is different in one space to another. Likewise, the ‘logical reduction of architectural thought to what can be shown’38, in terms of orthographic drawings, reduce architecture to a singular, completed object. They fail to acknowledge that the architectural object cannot exist without the three interdependent layers of movement, event and programme .

Some interesting correlation between architectuire and dance, mainly encompassing notation and the passage of time. Interesting initial ideas of how we (as architects) may be able to objectify, to some degree, the notion of dance. If any one wants further information i have it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dancing in Peckham (1994) by Gillian Wearing

It is inspired by a woman dancing madly by herself at the Royal Festival Hall in London.

In the 25-minutes video, Gillian Wearing re-creates the scene in the middle of a south-London shopping centre. She danced with the music in her head. She would like to test the public responses by doing the private action.

I copied this artwork for a show: Man made - a project about masculinity and art in Hong Kong in 2004 which was a research work finding the difference between male and female artworks.

I danced in the street and in the display window of the gallery.

I only danced in the street for 5 minutes as I found it’s really weird and felt like a crazy man! Yet I danced for more than an hour in the display window because of the protection under the gallery in which I am an artist rather than a crazy guy!

Anyway, good luck with the experiment!