Art and the Great Outdoors

Posted October 21, 2015 by The Argonaut in This Week

Tongva Park’s “The Wonder Room” activates a unique public space

Artists interact with the unique features of Tongva Park in “The Wonder Room” Photo by Bill Short

Artists interact with the unique features of Tongva Park in “The Wonder Room”
Photo by Bill Short

Haunted houses may stir spirits to life around Halloween, but at “The Wonder Room” in Santa Monica’s Tongva Park it’s the landscape that comes alive.
On Wednesday night, L.A. choreographer Alexandra Schilling, experimental puppetry toy theater troupe Automata, and Slovenian classical guitarist Mak Grgic’  and soprano Katya Koren enliven Tongva Park’s unique geography with song, dance and storytelling.
Each artist will activate one of the park’s “intimate spaces” simultaneously, reports Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Administrator Nathan Birnbaum.
“The much admired Tongva Park … is an ideal public space for intimate, informal and surprising art experiences,” wrote Birnbaum in an email interview.
Populated with gardens, winding paths and urban vistas designed by James Corner Field Operations of New York Highline fame, each performance piece will interact and intertwine with the park’s critically acclaimed landscape architecture.
Alexandra Schilling’s “The Other Side of Stillness” will race around the park to various locations as six dancers relay into a 13-minute looped dance segment. The piece will culminate on Gathering Hill.
Schilling says that her work, based on an exquisite corpse model, feels like a series of wonder rooms.
“The piece itself is an index of itself and our bodies and, to me, that’s like it’s an open cabinet of curiosities,” she said.
Spectators are invited to roam through the park at their own pace during the multi-performance event, which promises to be a perfect night under the stars to explore art and the outdoors.
— Christina Campodonico


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