Modular Architecture - The Unit x 10, performance
Lucy Orta, 1996
- Ref: 0505
- Materials: Extract from 40' Dance performance, Soirées Nomades
- Catalogued: p129 Lucy Orta, Phaidon Press UK 2003
- Exhibition history: 1996 La Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain Paris, France
- Courtesy: Courtesy of the Artists
- Concept: Commissioned by La Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris for the performance program, Soirées Nomades, Modular Architecture marks Lucy Orta’s first collaboration with contemporary dance. Imagined both as a static installation and a 40’ dance performance, the sculptures were interconnected by large visual signifiers - Habiter un espace c’est le prendre pour corps - The social link weaves the physical link - The group of contemporary dancers were invited to explore and define a personal space before negotiating a partnership with other members of the group. The Unit, a series of interconnected individual bivouacs that separate to reveal a personal space, an item of clothing or a transport bag. The aluminium membrane of the Dome, doting many identities, can be detached to reveal individual characters symbolised by arm, hood or leg appendages, the dancers can form entire suits by developing relationships with others and the boundaries between the body and the architecture begin to dissolve. Orta regards the wearer’s movements as those of a multifaceted mechanism, mirroring Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz’s theories on the mechanization of the body. In his theory of monadology, Leibniz described the body not as a machine in itself, but as a mechanism made up of many machines, considering organs and body parts as devices in themselves. A model for expression in contemporary aesthetics, the concept of the monad is viewed in terms of folds of space, movement and time, like the interrelatedness of the body and the Modular Architecture structures supporting it.