Architectural choreography: Crane Dance brings cities to life through art
By Sarah Housley

Can you use the existing infrastructure of cities to make huge spectacles? Laura Kriefman is proving how it is done. WGSN Lifestyle & Interiors Editor Sarah Housley reports

Dec 11, 2015

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The London Remix Summit is a hub of creative talent and a great place to discover inspiring design projects. At this week’s event, Laura Kriefman, founder of Guerilla Dance Project, introduced delegates from tech and culture businesses to her arts project, Crane Dance, which choreographed three industrial cranes into a synchronised dance routine, illuminated by rainbows of colour that shone across the city of Bristol.

From the starting point of a question – “Can you use the existing infrastructure of cities to make huge spectacles?” – Kriefman applied her speciality of “architectural choreography” to the cranes, using exactly the same techniques she would apply to choreographing human dancers, but adjusted to reflect the fact that the cranes move very slowly – like “elegant giraffes”, as she puts it.

WGSN_CraneDance_credit_John Rowley_PaulBlakemore

“10,000 people turned up to watch three cranes do a synchronised dance,” she told us. In addition to the sheer wonder of seeing these usually stiff, expressiveness machines dance, she points to a wider reason for the event’s success – one that underpins public interactions and experience design in every context, not only within the arts. “There is an appetite. People want to engage with their cities in a different way.”

She is now in talks to stage the work in London, “using all the cranes that are in-situ in Zone 1. On average, that’s 150 cranes.” Rather than stipulating a vantage point, she’s keen to open up the experience so that each viewer can take it in from their favourite point in London, whether a rooftop balcony or a high point in a park. “All this is about transforming our perceptions of owning our city, of skylines, or cities working together” she explained.

“What happens if a city gives a gift back to its citizens for 15 minutes, just for the fun for it?”

EXPERIENCE DESIGN: Look out for full coverage from Remix Summit 2015 on WGSN Lifestyle & Interiors

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Photo credit: John Rowley and Paul Blakemore

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