I like free things. (Or well, things that are free to me since I know that nothing is truly free, basic economics, blah blah blah.) It isn’t that I am a cheap person, per se, it is more that at this point in my life I don’t have access to a lot of liquid assets. So the more cool stuff that I can enjoy for little to no money is definitely a plus in my book.
I am a big fan of the arts. You don’t grow up hanging out with the theatre and art nerds, writing away in a notebook and on the back of your hand, playing music and end up hating on the arts. Or maybe you do, but I’m not one of them. Part of being a fan and a supporter of the arts is showing up and offering support when really cool things happen out in the open air where anyone can see them. Access is key to promoting art, to getting people involved and willing to support things that might not ordinarily touch their lives. I am exceedingly lucky to live in a city where there are some seriously awesome museums that I can get into without an admission fee. It means that I keeping going back to see what’s new without breaking the bank.
I seem to have lost my point somewhere along the way. Oh yeah. There it is.
This weekend I had two prime opportunities to enjoy some pretty cool things that happened on the outside of buildings. I can be something of an architectural nerd and when you throw art onto a building, I’m definitely going to go take a look. For the past few months the Hirshorn Museum has been projecting a 360 film onto its outside walls. A piece by Doug Aitken, it combines film and sound against the backdrop on the open air and the circular Hirshorn. Even if you stand out there for only five minutes, it’s a pretty impressive thing to see. For one thing it is absolutely massive, making you feel very small as you watch it go by. Another thing is that it has a way of making you feel included. It is not a piece that you stand in front of, consider and then walk away. It wraps you up, it surrounds you and has a way of being something that you think about even after you have walked away. (It doesn’t hurt that you can definitely see it from a few blocks away as you approach the museum.)
The piece, Doug Aitken: Song 1, is up and running from about 8pm to midnight at the Hirshorn until May 20th. If you have the opportunity to take a look, I promise you won’t regret it.
In other cool, building-related happenings that I managed to check out this weekend was a performance by the aerial dance troupe Project Bandaloop. Despite not being afraid of heights, I couldn’t help but feel a bit of sympathetic vertigo on their behalfs as they took dancing in the air and along the side of the Old Post Office Clocktower here in DC. Combining lights, music and some serious athletic skill it was an impressive feat to take in. Project Bandaloop’s performance was tied in with the Kennedy Center (which is how I found out about it), but anyone who was walking down that part of Pennsylvania Avenue this past week could have taken in a bit of the set up. The wind was gusting pretty hard earlier in the week, but it all came together for one seriously amazing show. Even if my legs did get sympathetic cramps from just thinking about it.
If you ever manage to be in a place where you can see Project Bandaloop perform, I strongly recommend it. The entire show lasted about 50 minutes, but it definitely felt like less time (a surprising fact given that I had my head tilted upward the entire time). Check out their website for more information about them and what they do (and why they do it).
I apologise for the lack of pictures this go around. I tried to snap a few, but all I had to work with was my iPhone and some sharp angles which makes for some seriously blurry pictures when in my hands. Next time I’ll remember to bring a real camera. But for now, I’m signing off on my art beat.