Tate Britain Performance

Late at Tate Britain: February 2013 Performing Architecture

Alex Schweder and Ward Shelly, Stability, Seattle, 2009 Photos © Scott Lawrimore, edited by Ward Shelly & author.

Tate Britain interior

Tate Britain Millbank Project: Cross Section

Emptyset, Medium, 2012

Light Vessel Automatic, This Space 2013

Light Vessel Automatic, Tate 2013

What does performance have to do with architecture? 
How can a building perform, and how can we perform a building?

Come on a playful journey through the gallery in its current phase of spatial and structural transformation, taking a look at architectural and art practices that explore how our physical bodies interact with built form.

With talks, performance, a workshop, and sound and film from Alex Schweder and Lamis Bayar, Kreider + O’Leary, Effie Coe, Emptyset and The Architecture Foundation

Find out more about the transformations happening at Tate Britain for The Millbank Project.



PRACTISE ARCHITECTURE: rehearse here, perform everywhere

Alex Schweder and Lamis Bayar
Duveen Galleries

What is Performance Architecture? Forget the theory! Experience it through your body. Schweder and Bayar transform the Duveen Galleries into a rehearsal space where invitations, writ large on the very fabric of a rapidly changing Tate Britain, offer up playful and unexpected ways of discovering how you can change a space by behaving differently in relation to it. What can one to do with a wall? A hoarding? A bench? You will leave the rehearsal space a practised Performance Architect and invent your own instructions as you happen upon more walls, more hoardings, more benches. Perform them. Perform Tate Britain, perform your living room!

Light Vessel Automatic 

Kreider + O'Leary 
Throughout the galleries
19.30-20.00 & 20.45-21.15

Take an experiential tour of Tate Britain with Kreider + O'Leary revealing the buildings’ scars, layers and history. With archaeological levels of detail they explore the site as fulcrum of different inter-related systems: spatial, historical, social and artistic.

Tickets available on a first-come, first-served basis from the Manton Information desk at 18.00 > Find out more about Light vessel Automatic

Sound and Film

Emptyset: Trawsfynydd


The decommissioned Trawsfynydd nuclear power station in North Wales has finished its functional arc and faces an unknown future. In this sound and film installation, Emptyset translate the physical space of a building in transition exploring the relationship between architecture, sculpture and its mediation, interrogating what architecture is when its function is lost.

Performing Architecture on Film

Historic Collection and South Duveens

Explore buildings as creative collaborators and props through a range of experiments across art, architecture and film. Curated in collaboration with The Architecture Foundation.

Explore buildings as creative collaborators, props and performers through a range of experiments across art, architecture and film. Curated in collaboration with The Architecture Foundation.

Gordon Matta-Clark, Conical Intersect, 1975, 18 mins 40 secs 
This film documents Matta-Clark's landmark work of 'anarchitecture' Conical Intersect; a spiralling void cut through two derelict seventeenth-century Parisian buildings, prior to their demolition for the contested Centre Pompidou site. Described by the artist as a 'nonument' the work transformed domestic space into pubic art.

Absalon, Solutions, 1992
Absalon, Proposals for a Habitat, 1990
11 mins 28 secs
A pair of quasi-scientific films document the Israeli artist living within his experimental Cellules, 1:1 architectural propositions for living-pods scaled to, and designed to condition, the artist's body and mind. Modernist and minimalist legacies combine in these idealised habitats, which the artist described as ‘resistance to a society that keeps me from becoming what I must become'.

Doug Aitken, House, 2010, 8 mins 50 secs
Aitken choreographs the demolition of his old home in California, prior to constructing a house of his own design on the same site. The building collapses with precision around his parents, the former owners, who remain seated and unscathed as a memory of the home's domestic past.

Thomas Lock, Breaking Points, 2010, 10 mins
Inspired in part by Paul Virilio's Bunker Archeology, Lock's film deconstructs northern France's abandoned concrete WW2 bunkers and Atlantic Wall into a time-based collage of fractured imagery and sound. Structure and landscape are abstracted through computer algorhythms and a soundtrack composed by Robin Rimbaud (Scanner).

Sean Snyder, Dallas Southfork in Hermes Land, Slobozia, Romania, 2001, 4 min 41 sec
Snyder's short film documents a Romanian oligarch's re-creation of the ranch from US TV show Dallas - one of the few American TV programmes broadcast under Ceausescu's Cold War rule. Studio set becomes reality, performing an architecture of mediated fantasy and geo-political exchange on film.



Alex Schweder and Lamis Bayar with Marianne Mulvey

Turner Galleries
18.45 - 19.30

Performance Architect Alex Schweder and Lamis Bayar, Editor of Le Journal Spéciale’Z discuss their involvement in the emerging field of Performance Architecture with Late at Tate Britain Curator Marianne Mulvey, mapping this growing area of spatial production and giving an insight into the development of their installation Practise Architecture. 

Paul Purgas and James Ginzburg with Justin Jaeckle

Turner Galleries

Emptyset’s Paul Purgas and James Ginzburg discuss their exploration of architecture as fluid space through sound and moving image with Justin Jaeckle, Curator of Public Programmes at The Architecture Foundation. They reflect upon using aspects of performance, documentary, cinema, structuralist film, video and audio processing in response to the built environment.


Observation Spaces

 Duveen Galleries

Construct your own space in the Duveen Galleries using cardboard, paper and projection to immerse yourself in architecture and engage with your surroundings with artist Effie Coe. Inhabit your temporary structure and tweet your pictures @Tate #spaces.

Tate Britain

London SW1P 4RG
Plan your visit

Date & Time

1 February 2013 at 18.00–22.00