An innovative synthesis of curatorial practice, performance design, and architecture – in the form of an annual festival on Wellington Waterfront. Every year The Performance Arcade assembles a temporary structure out of shipping containers and scaffold terracing, providing venue for a range of performance disciplines and practices from around the world and Aotearoa NZ. A conflation of the gallery and black-box theatre occurs, but a third archetype of “the arcade” is also explored. This cellular environment provides a series open thresholds for the passing public to engage in risky, interactive encounters and dialogues with the works. Outside the disciplined environments of art institutions and their permanent architectures new experiences are formed that test familiar relationships and political paradigms. The symbolic quality of the shipping container references systems of global commerce and border crossings. Presented in the liminal space of the waterfront, this treatment turns the site and object into resonant, auto-poetic devices. Every year the design changes, defining The Performance Arcade as an ongoing experiment in performance architecture and presentation, using each thematic framework to generate new design strategies and solutions: from stacked towers of shipping containers to long horizontal arrangements, or from utilising programmatic systems (like the symposium) through to graphic way-finding devices that stretch kilometres across the city. In each iteration the event remains an organism on the move, accruing new meaning and intelligence with each new shape.
Country/Region New Zealand
Designer Sam Trubridge, Alex Sawicka-Ritchie, The PlayGround NZ Ltd (NZ)
Artistic Director: Sam Trubridge
Architecture Lead: Alex Sawicka-Ritchie
Videographer: John Conly
Johann Nortje, Sascha Perfect, Keely McCann, Thomas Friggens, Rachel Fox, Kane Forbes, Cohen Stephens, Marcus McShane, David Goldthorpe, Amelia Taverner