Placeholders September 13th, 12 noon Long Branch, Maryland, USA
This site-specific performance/installation explores what it means to seek, shape and preserve “place” in the face of transition through a public, participatory event in the Silver Spring neighborhood of Long Branch. With an evocative interdisciplinary collaboration that crosses creative boundaries, architect/visual artist Ronit Eisenbach joins forces with dance artist Sharon Mansur to illuminate and celebrate Long Branch as it is today, on the cusp of change and growth. Placeholders embraces this spirit of flux through its movement, sound and architectural layers. The performance work affirms what is essential to one’s sense of place in the face of transformation and reflects upon what it means to “hold one’s place” in anticipation of the future. A quartet of performers will invite the audience on a stroll to three separate spaces within the community—the stores along Flower Avenue, the parking lot at the corner of Arliss and Flower, and the Flower Avenue Park. In addition, artists will engage the public by inviting them to consider and share their own placeholders: objects, images, and traditions that establish their identity and sense of place.
See Eisenbach & Mansur’s other Long Branch projects at: http://artinplace.wix.com/long-branch
(part of the Discover Long Branch’s “Flower Fiesta: A Celebration of Art and Place” http://www.discoverlongbranch.com/#!events/c7wf
“We see in order to move, we move in order to see.” – William Gibson
When dancers shape movement they understand that they are simultaneously shaping space. When architects shape space they consider how their choices anticipate movement and frame inhabitation. Consequently, both disciplines address the body in space and in time. Accordingly, Eisenbach and Mansur have developed a collaborative, interdisciplinary, and experimental approach to generating site-specific and site-inspired work that explores tensions between movement and space, action and place, function and expression, seeing and perceiving, permanence and impermanence. Eisenbach and Mansur are drawn to sites-in-transition because they peel back illusions of permanence. These are places of potential in which the built environment will be transformed in the foreseeable future. The activation of these places via ephemeral performance and installations can enhance this in-between condition and underscore the sense of possibility. To this end, Eisenbach and Mansur’s collaboration combines dance performance and architectural installation elements in situ to both extend their artistic/design practice and to engage both community and themselves in the act of “attending to place.”
Building upon earlier collaborations and partnerships, Eisenbach and Mansur have elected to work in the underserved Long Branch community of Maryland in the suburbs of DC. Affordable and accessible, Long Branch is home to a diverse immigrant community. Plans for a new metro stop in this location are creating new tensions, for although investment in the area is both desirable and necessary, there is nonetheless concern amongst the current population that any new development will displace them. From Spring 2014, Eisenbach and Mansur will undertake a formal, sociological and phenomenological site analysis, interview stakeholders, conduct physical and movement experiments, and develop community engagement strategies. This preparatory research will culminate with a performance/installation in Fall 2014. In situ: Exploring Site-in-Transition is the initial stage within a larger research-creation project sponsored by the University of Maryland’s ADVANCE Program for Inclusive Excellence and the National Science Foundation.