Michelle Lopez: Fictitious Pivot (performance)


Friday, November 3, 2017, 12:00pm to 1:00pm


Ramp, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, 24 Quincy St

In collaboration with composer Anna Weesner, Michelle Lopez presents Fictitious Pivot, a live performance designed for the Carpenter Center’s central ramp and stairwell. A spare composition of wind instruments and a vocalist, the hour-long work subtly aligns with the ramp as it ascends and descends to considers different methods of negotiating the building’s circulation, elevation, and integration. Fictitious Pivot is part of the group exhibition, We Just Fit, You and I.

Presented byCarpenter Center for the Visual Arts
Admission: Free and open to the public
Hours: Galleries: 12–6, Wed–Sun
Related exhibition runs through Jan. 7, 2018: We Just Fit, You and I​​​​​​​
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By amplifying a disjunction between body and space in the building’s porous, cavernous qualities of glass and concrete, Lopez presents an alternate and diffuse form of figuration. Its circulation vents and echoing chambers inspired a performance involving themes of Echo location clicking/clacking/knocking; disruption of time/linearity; complicating breath through restraint; examining the porous quality of building as circulation; and finally a translation of space through voice (body)/instrument/song.

Helen Singh-Miller, vocalist/performer, responds to the flutists by employing body mechanisms on the musicians that can offer forms of pulling, climbing, constraining. Through these interactions, the performer’s role emerges, as she imitates the wind instrument’s translations of breathing and manipulates her presence through a language of contradictions:  rampy/rompy; silence/boisterousness. The ramp suggests a kind of temporality or narrative experience, and the composition disrupts linearity though a non-idiomatic composition. It will be both wind and wench (but not in the tropes we culturally imagine as we try and create a language that de-classifies a masculine or feminine space).

“An architecture must be walked through and traversed. ...our man has two eyes set in the front of his head, and he stands six feet above the ground and looks ahead. These biological facts are enough to damn the whole batch of plans that have the wheel revolving around a fictitious pivot. Thus, equipped with his own two eyes and looking straight ahead, our man walks about and changes positions, applies himself to his pursuits, moving in the midst of a succession of architectural realities. He re-experiences the intense feeling that has come from that sequence of movements. This is so true that architecture can be judged dead or living by the degree to which the rule of movement has been disregarded or brilliantly exploited” -Le Corbusier, Le Corbusier Talks with Students, Corbusier’s explanation of architectural promenade, 1942. The Orion Press, pp. 44-45, 1961.