[excerpt 2] Design after Dance

(Image courtesy of Tetsuro Fukuhara, Tokyo Space Dance.)


The radicality of Butoh allows us to explore alternatives to the parameters of current architectural design – the referential, stable and divisive qualities of our urban environments. We share a grand illusion, convinced that our cities are our own – that they are icons of our shared narratives, growing out of a collective vision. But, we soon realise that they are hollow shells, containers in which we are trained to move in particular ways, expect particular rewards and punishments. In the face of this collective submission – largely made possible because of enforced ignorance and inaccessibility of transformative agency – we believe that the very intimate and honest experience of dance has great potential to engage with this crisis, on a level that brings abstract questions into a playful, visceral experience, that can be accessible by everyone.

In and outside of Butoh’s relatively recent development, we are interested in tracing the commonalities of experimental approaches to the body’s role in social design: approaches that posit networked being as a determining agency – we consider the non-human as equivalent to “social”, and integral to these intersecting networks. Space Dance is a social experiment that challenges us to engage in this type of interconnected thinking, feeling and creating. With this in mind, we imagine the Space Tube – the Boundary Object – as a method by which to engage with these ideas, and as a catalyst for collaboration. To permit the body to determine the shape and character of its presence in social space, architectural thinking must translate into a kind of ‘un-design’, which resists the authorial hand of the architect, the authority of formalism, the vertical hierarchy. We find that these are the same conditions that necessitated the Reversible Destiny project, by Shusaku Arakawa and Madeline Gins, and intend to trace this shared concern while addressing a contradiction in Reversible Destiny, that we respond to through the behaviour of textiles.

This excerpt is from  Design after Dance.