Street.s/wall.ing/in is a site-specific performance designed for the building at 32 Old Slip in Manhattan's Wall Street district. Dancers occupy orange shapes inspired by Jersey barriers: transient urban architectural forms that evoke construction, warning, and repair. Over the course of two and a half hours, the shapes gradually traverse the building's perimeter, tumbling and flipping against the wind, and clustering around the granite pillars of the building's arcade. Departing from the East River, they eventually arrive at a Jersey barrier cordoning the Northwest corner of the building. The performance concludes with the shapes' amassing in the barrier's furthermost nook.
Street.s/wall.ing/in is a site-specific performance about architectural trauma and urban memory. The performance briefly haunts the cityscape with layers of past urban memories, imagining what it might look like if a city's architecture possessed psychology and memory.
I was initially invited to make a performance in response to the destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy in the Wall Street district of lower Manhattan. However, nine months after the hurricane, I found that most damages had been completely repaired. Glass, steel, concrete, and granite had healed over any evidence of vulnerability in the urban landscape. Wall Street's monumental buildings seemed invincible until a Jersey barrier in front of 32 Old Slip caught my attention. The orange plastic shapes struck me as a futile defense mechanism. A haphazard effort to reinforce the building's property demarcations seemed to have the opposite effect: recalling precarious past moments like 9/11, Sandy, and Occupy.
The shapes I created for the performance are abstracted versions of the Jersey barrier segments. Occupied by dancers, they animate, explore, and haunt the building's exterior, exploring and encircling it.