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Stephan Koplowitz Revealed

  • Exhibition

  • June 2, 2007 - June 20, 2007
  • MASS MoCA

Viewers were invited to change the way they looked at the world and experience one of the world’s first imaging technologies when site artist, Stephan Koplowitz, installed a room-sized, walk-in camera obscura in MASS MoCA’s Scaturro Courtyard. The device has fascinated artists and scientists for centuries, challenging viewers’ perspective on place and scale. At MASS MoCA, it offered a whole new look at our legendary upside-down trees and the mountains beyond. Koplowitz and his ensemble were also in residence to create a site-specific performance event made for the camera’s perspective, which they performed several times throughout the day on June 9 and 10, 2007.

From June 2 through June 10, MASS MoCA’s patrons experienced the rare treat of a full-sized camera obscura installed in MASS MoCA’s Scaturro Courtyard as part of choreographer Stephan Koplowitz’s newest work, Revealed. Koplowitz, with a penchant for daring site-specific work, presented Revealed as a two-fold project. Throughout his two-week residency guests were welcome to wander through the room-sized, walk-in camera obscura, taking in an entirely new view of MASS MoCA’s legendary upside-down trees.

The camera obscura, with its curious play on perspective, literally means “dark room” in Latin. In a sealed room with a small enough hole in the wall at one end, light coming through the hole projects an inverted image on the facing surface. Viewers see an inverted version of what is happening outside as people move, trees bend in the wind, and clouds float overhead.

“This is a work that investigates perception and our ability to perceive space and light,” explains Koplowitz. “Revealed attempts to give the viewer time to look at the world, at this specific place in time, simultaneously with two sets of ‘eyes.’ It is hopefully a reminder of how powerful and striking pure light and the absence of light can be.”

Koplowitz is known for taking his dance out of the theater and placing it in the world; streets, parks, public buildings, and, on occasion, swimming pools, have served as platforms for his site-specific performances. Some of the more famous works involved large-scale performances in architecturally compelling and challenging spaces such as London’s British Library and Natural History Museum, the windows of Grand Central Terminal and Union Station in New York City, and a coal processing plant in Essen, Germany. Koplowitz served as the dean of The Sharon Disney Lund School of Dance at CalArts from 2006 to 2016, prior to which he was Director of Dance at the Packer Collegiate Institute for 20 years.

Admission to the camera obscura was free during the residency. Admission to the dance performances on June 9 and 10 was also free. Admission was on a first come basis.

Stephan Koplowitz Revealed, 2007

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