Movement Intervention within British Post-War Architecture

Jaimie Henthorn

This exposition considers movement intervention in architectural spaces as a form of artistic practice and potential research methodology. Examples of movement intervention within architecture in contemporary artworks are examined, helping to describe the parameters of this technique. Phenomenological aspects of these artworks, such as kinaesthetic empathy and the ubiquitous and physical context of architecture, are discussed. These can distance the viewer from an automatic understanding of the relationship between body and building, and introduce the potential for meaning beyond familiar ways of addressing architecture, such as through writing. The exposition centres on two on-site movement interventions by the author at post-war British buildings, St Peter’s Seminary, designed by Gillespie, Kidd and Coia, and the tower housing blocks Bevin Court and the Sivill House, designed by Berthold Lubetkin, and examines how the works relate to these contexts as a space both of creation and of reception. These movement interventions address the similar cultural circumstances of these sites as well as their dissimilar current status. The exposition concludes with an assessment of the validity of the kinetic human body as a research tool and the capacity for artworks resulting from movement intervention to engage the viewer and contribute to existing architectural discourse.