Writer: Sarah Jaffray
The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion’s Park Nights climaxes with a series of performances that explore cultural identity. The temporary structure, designed by architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron and conceptual artist Ai Weiwei (designers of the 2008 Bejing Olympic Pavilion) is submerged into the earth with the intention of exploring concepts of archeology and human memory: how we create culture through the process making of memories both temporally and spatially.
On 7 September (today) artist Ed Fornieles takes over the space for The Dreamy Awards, a commission specifically for the Serpentine Gallery. The Dreamy Awards is designed to recognize the people who shape our current cultural context. Pre-performance, Fornieles will prepare viewers to assume the identities of public figures ranging from musicians to politicians, princesses to technology mavericks. The viewers, as celebrities, will mix with members of the artist’s network, real celebrities, and other non-performing members of the public resulting in a surreal awards show environment that will enhance the participants’ awareness of what it means to construct identity.
On 14 September Colombian-born, London-based artist Oscar Murillo will use the Pavilion as the “heart” of a site-specific celebration focused on the creation of community and cultural inclusion. Participants can expect to be engaged in the space by materials and processes that provoke questions of language, identity, economy, and class.
28-29 September will see the performance of Vidas Perfectas (Perfect Lives) an opera written by Robert Ashley and directed by Alex Waterman. In Spanish, the operatic series (originally made for television) deals with life on US/Mexico border and the how this ambiguous space has created a whole new cultural class.
As a further act of cultural community and the maintenance of memory, all of the performances will be preserved and available on The Space. The closing of this cultural space will culminate with the Serpentine Gallery Memory Marathon (13-14 October), a multi-disciplinary performative programme that further deals with memory, the individual, and cultural context.