Embodied Landscape

In the absence of architecture — when a building is demolished and lost — how can we speak about something too concrete when it does not exist anymore? How do we re-imagine it? Would our imaginaries come from pictures, memories, films or other people’s stories? There is a poetic phenomenon in such translations when a physical structure transforms into a soft picture, ephemeral idea, or palimpsestic canvas in our mind; it becomes so stretched, morphed, and aesthetic. The architecture as a reflexive surface becomes like a phantom, a space of oscillations between the fantastic and the realized. Isn’t it, then, like a shadow that overrides its body? Or like the dominant masculinity in that monumental thing that becomes female, affective and queer? This is a state in which architecture becomes an event: existing through our imaginations, speculations and inventions. It is the absence that traverses the presence, the impossible that becomes possible.

Embodied Landscape is a multimedia performance that reflects on the history of a lost architecture in Buffalo: The Marble Temple. Built in 1913 for M&T’s former headquarters in Buffalo, the White Marble Temple was an iconic building with four stories high and the interior finished with splendid white marbles. However, the building was demolished in 1959 and its marble columns have been partly preserved: some now stand at Baird Point next to Lake LaSalle (on the University at Buffalo’s North Campus) and dedicated as a memorial to servicemen and servicewomen; the rest remnants of the columns remain in Buffalo’s Outer Harbor, in different locations in Wilkeson Pointe Park. Embodied Landscape uses film, dance and locative media to suggest a meditation on the idea of architecture as ‘event’. The video performance features a sensory and tactile relationship between different bodies: the body of the female and the marble stones. The locative media means to give the audience a chance to experience the film in situ on their mobile phone while navigating the site and walking in between the remained marble ruins.

An old postcard showing The Marble Temple built for M&T’s headquarters in Buffalo
a remnant from building’s column