By Fritz Haeg
With Felicia Ballos, Layla Childs, Alex Escalante, Levi Gonzales, Paige Gratland, Michael Helland, Jmy Leary, Daniel Linehan, Jennifer Monson, Kayvon Pourazar, Anna Sperber, and Flora Wiegmann
The Whitney Biennial at the Regiment Armory on Park Avenue, March 22, 2008 (New York)
As part of the Animal Estates exhibition Fritz Haeg’s Sundown Schoolhouse presents weekly Guided Estate Tours and Animal Score performances, along with a one-time Animal Drills event in the vast drill hall of the Seventh Regiment Armory on Park Avenue. For Animal Drills twelve movement artists including Felicia Ballos (Wood Duck), Layla Childs (Big Brown Bat), Anna Sperber (Mason Bee), Levi Gonzales (Northern Flying Squirrel), Paige Gratland (beaver), Michael Helland (Bobcat), Jmy Leary (Eastern Tiger Salamander), Daniel Linehan (Opossum), Alex Escalante (Purple Martin), and Kayvon Pourazar (Barn Owl) perform all 12 animal inspired movement scores and then teach the movement instructions to the public, culminating in an organized group movement experience echoing the military drills originally staged in the hall.
The on-going Animal Estates initiative produces events and exhibitions to consider the animals that we share our cities with, and creates dwellings for animals that have been unwelcome or displaced by humans. As animal habitats dwindle daily, Animal Estates proposes the reintroduction of animals back into our cities, strip malls, garages, office parks, freeways, front yards, parking lots, skyscrapers, and neighborhoods. Animal Estates intends to provide a provocative 21st century model for the human-animal relationship that is more intimate, visible and thoughtful. Dwelling designs for a variety of animals will be tested throughout the world. In cities and suburbs, from public streets to private yards, prototype Animal Estates will be established in a variety of environments. At times they will be hidden from view and at others quite visible to the public. Each will be designed to attract and welcome a particular animal back into an environment that has been dominated by humans. The design for each estate will be developed with a local specialist on that particular animal. These animals may at times be helpful and welcome residents, but others may require some getting used to. The first edition of Animal Estates was installed in the Sculpture Court of the Whitney Museum at the corner of Madison Avenue and East 75th Street in Manhattan. The animal clients were previous residents of that land 400 years ago, including: beaver, bat, bee, bird, bobcat, duck, eagle, opossum, owl, salamander, squirrel, and turtle. Other 2008 Animal Estate developments are planned for Austin, Cambridge, San Francisco, Portland, and Utrecht.
Photo courtesy Fritz Haeg