If you were hosting a festival to highlight the history of performance art in your city, how would you start it off? Surely you wouldn’t kick off with a play or a solo performance of sorts. No, no: you would whip out the big guns and let everyone know just how amazing the forthcoming festival will be. That is exactly why Pacific Standard Time’s first official event in the Performance and Public Art Festival is Disappearing Environments, a recreation of a 1968 performance by Judy Chicago, Lloyd Hamrol and Eric Orr.
The new performance (happening tonight!!) is a collaboration between Judy Chicago and the awesome Silver Lake based Materials & Applications and will set the Barker Hangar at Santa Monica Airport aglow with cold smoke and bright lights. Together, with a group of 40 helpers, the performance will create an atmosphere that aims to transform the Hangar’s environs with nine pyramids built from 25 tons of dry ice. The structures will create a thick fog that, when mixed with flares, will resonate bright reds and oranges. Over the course of a few days, the structures will disappear and the parking lot outside the Hangar restored to its former, empty state (hence, the title!).
Over the past weekend, we were able to catch some practice runs of the installation (check out the video of the practice build below). Right when the sun went down, the flares were brought out to illuminate the piece. It’s remarkable how over time, as the structure sublimates, the piece transforms into these newer, smaller forms. Obviously, the dry ice is used so that it can “disappear” and reshape, but–until you see it–you don’t really “get” what that will be. The blocks transform from these rigid, tangible shapes into these spherical, conical, dusty, and somewhat illusory fragments of what they once were.
For more on Chicago’s performance this evening, be sure to check out the Pacific Standard Time blog! And, below, check out a video from a practice run of the performance. There’s another on the PST blog as well!
Above photo: Judy Chicago in front of a test structure for the Disappearing Environments performance on Jan 19, 2012 at Barker Hangar. Photograph by Donald Woodman.