Staging Place

Christine Darragh, Hannah Kirkpatrick, Waylon Richmond, and Karina Tirado (A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning), Akari Komura, Sheena Hui, Hannah Marcus, and Aislinn Bailie (School of Music, Theatre & Dance)

We are Staging Place, a team of eight performers and designers interested in creating and facilitating local connections to places and people through the lens of performance.

Staging Place takes form in a series of live feed performance projections staged between Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor. The project aims to amplify the placeness of physical spaces and local voices by using a digital platform. Live streaming the performances enables new spatial relations between neighbors and widens engagement.

We started out observing the uniqueness of each space’s sounds, spatial relations, social and environmental activity. The site-responsive performances emerged based on improvisatory scores with prompts that were created from our field research notes of each location. The scores also challenge a universal language for both dancers and musicians to interpret and express in connection with the surrounding space. These performances were projected into and on the urban fabric located in the neighboring town.

Through the summer, we conducted a number of preliminary tests and performance trials, and encountered practical issues such as lighting, electricity, and wi-fi. Spatial issues, programmatic collisions, and the role of the passer-by becoming an audience also became important to site choices. The performance and the projections merge these physical spaces through digital means and invite the local performers and audience to experience the performance in a shared physical space. We think of our interventions in performance and projection as a “glitch” in time and space.

Staging Place members have researched and assembled the infrastructure of what we imagine to be an ongoing series of events in collaboration with local performing artists pairing places with artists and their causes, opening windows between worlds to connect people and places who might not otherwise. We see this type of performance and experience as an opportunity to learn from the environment we live in and open up new avenues of creative placemaking.