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UBU. A movement for three dancers, two cameras, and a building


Three contemporary dance performers measure space in the Utrecht University Library under construction.

In this movie by Factordrie an unfinished public space is disclosed as a living being. From different angles, two cameras follow three contemporary dance performers as they move in the Utrecht University Library building, designed by Wiel Arets Architects, under construction.

The human body becomes the new unit of measurement to explore this unique moment in the lifecycle of the building. The video shows that an architecture in wait might also have another use, before and besides the official one it is designed for. For instance, it can be part of a once-off performance of contemporary dance between the rough elements of the construction barriers.

"UBU" represents the first appropriation phase of the material dimension of the spaces of the library, as the dancers glide on the white polyurethane floor, rub themselves down the glass walls, and slide down the staircases. Their movements show an unusual way of living a public space for just a moment before it changes, those same rooms, stairs, walls that are about to be used by the future visitors of the library.

The unusual viewpoints chosen in the short movie explain the project and its potentialities. It also reveals the depth of the inside of  an architecture that on the exterior, appears like a simple rectangular box.


Mentioned project: Utrecht University Library (1997-2004)
Project location: Utrecht, Netherlands
Coreography: Anouk Van Dijk
Dancers: Michael Jahoda, Giulia Mureddu, Nina Wollny
Music: Lilian Hack

The Netherlands 2005
Duration: 9'20''

Selected for A FLORENCE THAT WILL BE (Florence; February - June 2013), a series of public talks, conferences, and architecture videos on five dates curated by Image for Ordine degli Architetti di Firenze.