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The Halprin Workshops

Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery
Feb 23, 2015 - Apr 18, 2015

In the late 1960s, American landscape architect Lawrence Halprin and avant-garde dance pioneer Anna Halprin organized a series of experimental, cross-disciplinary workshops in Northern California that brought together dancers, architects, environmental designers, and artists in a process designed to facilitate collaboration and group creativity through new approaches to environmental awareness. The workshops were staged between the urban context of San Francisco; the dance deck, studio, and surrounding wooded areas of the Halprins’ Kentfield home in Marin County; and the Halprins’ cabin at Sea Ranch—a coastal community for which Lawrence Halprin designed the master plan. During movement sessions on the dance deck, blindfolded awareness walks through the landscape, collective building projects using driftwood, and choreographed journeys diagramming everyday use and experience of the city, participants engaged in multi-sensory activities using loosely-structured, written guidelines in the form of open “scores.”

These early workshops served as a testing ground for the development of RSVP Cycles—a multi-disciplinary method of visualizing and guiding creative group work. The four main components of RSVP Cycles: Resources, Scores, Valuaction, and Performance, could be used interchangeably to create an iterative process driven by awareness and assessment of existing resources, planning, participation, and critical feedback.

The exhibition presents original photographs, films, drawings, scores, and other archival documentation of three workshops: Experiments in Environment, 1966; Community, 1968; and Leadership Training, 1971. The exhibition includes plans, drawings, and original photographs of the architectural sites where the workshops took place and features slide shows of the 1966 and 1968 workshops, as well as a pair of experimental films from the 1971 workshop by filmmaker Connie Beeson.