Artist-in-Residence, Conversation, Exhibition, Performance
FLAX Project

Shelter or Playground


Opening on February 9, 7-9pm
With performances by Milka Djordjevich and interpretation of scores by Alison Knowles and Yoko Ono.

The performance program begins on February 16 & 17 and continues throughout the run of the show. Full program below.

This exhibition springs from The House of Dust, a seminal yet under-recognized late 1960s work by Fluxus artist Alison Knowles. Originally called The Play House, this intermedia piece serves as an entry point into contemporary investigation of the relationships between architecture, technology, and performance.  In a text titled Shelter or Playground, Rudolf Schindler described his house as a “Playground” that “grows with its inhabitants” and where “life will regain its fluidity”. Today, the house open its doors to contemporary artists who have been invited to produce site-specific works, responding to both architectures by Schindler and Knowles and translating them into multiple performative forms.

Curated by Maud Jacquin, Anna Milone and Sébastien Pluot, this group exhibition is the result of a collective research effort initiated by Art by Translation (TALM Angers & École nationale supérieure d’arts de Paris-Cergy) with the MAK Center for Art and Architecture and France Los Angeles Exchange (FLAX), in collaboration with the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts).

Shelter or Playground will involve the commissioning of new works and performances by Henry Andersen & Bryana Fritz/Slow Reading Club (Australia, USA), Lila Athanasiadou (Netherlands), Jasmin Blasco (France/USA), Dimitri Chamblas (France), François Dallegret and François Perrin (France), Milka Djordjevich (USA), Rafa Esparza (USA), Daniel Frota (Brazil), Mark Geffriaud (France), Gerard & Kelly (USA), FLAX Artist-in-Residence Aurélie Godard (France), Jeff Guess (France), Simon Leung (USA) and Luke Stoneham (UK), Lucky Dragons (USA). It will be accompanied by interpretations of scores by Fluxus artists or those associated with Fluxus—Alison Knowles, Yoko Ono, Alvin Lucier, Pauline Oliveros—interpreted by CalArts students and by historical performances including works by Merce Cunningham and Trisha Brown on the Calarts Nomad Floor. The floor will play the role of a contemporary House of Dust as a studio, gathering place, gallery, blank slate, habitat and point of discussion about context, performing and witnessing performance, open to anyone upon registration to the MAK Center.

In 1967, Alison Knowles’s The House of Dust started as one of the first computer-generated poems. Each quatrain began with “A House of …” followed by random sequences of materials, sites or locations, light sources, and categories of inhabitants. In 1969, Knowles translated one of the quatrains into an architectural structure with organic, “non-Euclidean” shapes that, at the time, were in contrast with the technological origin of the poem. The house was first installed in Chelsea, New York, and then moved to CalArts, where a burgeoning community of artists and students created a number of artistic works in response to the structure (installations, performances, dance, concerts, poetry classes, etc.). The physical House thus became an open structure, a platform used to generate and shelter experimental activities. It got lost in the 1980’s and the only remaining aspect of the work was the poem that we have reconstituted and open to new interpretations.

At the core of this exhibition is the desire to reactivate the generative potential of Knowles’s work and catalyze interrogations of wider esthetic and social issues through several disciplines, creating new forms and communities. This exhibition organizes the encounter between The House of Dust and the Schindler House, two very singular architectures that coincides on numerous dimensions. They both represent alternatives to functionalist architecture and conventional behavior. They reverse the modernist idea according to which architecture should organize and control human conduct.


Performances program

Saturday, February 16

2pm – Merce Cunningham, Canfield, 1969, performed by CalArts Dance.

2:15pm – Alison Knowles, #15 Wounded furniture, 1965, interpreted by CalArts students.

3pm – Trisha Brown, Solo Olos, 1976, performed by CalArts Dance.

3:20pm – Dimitri Chamblas, SLOW SHOW, 2018. Music and sound by Eddie Ruscha

4pm – Jasmin Blasco, Speaking In Tongues, 2019

4:30pm – Alison Knowles, Variation #1 on Proposition, Make a Soup, 1964 interpreted and performed by Art by Translation

5pm – Alvin Lucier, I Am Sitting in a Room, 1969, interpreted by CalArts students.

6pm – Dinner Make a Soup, Alison Knowles

7pm – Collective reading session by Slow Reading Club


Sunday, February 17

Throughout the day – Yoko Ono, TAPE PIECE II, 1963, interpreted by CalArts students.

2pm – Yoko Ono, Building Piece for Orchestra, 1963, interpreted by CalArts students.

2:15pm – Simon Leung and Luke Stoneham, Duo, 2018

2:40pm – Presentation by Performa curator Charles Aubin of his research related to Circulations, Performa 17’s architecture and performance program, and the accompanying publication Bodyspacemotionthings (upcoming).

3:40pm – Yoko Ono, Wall Piece for Orchestra, 1962, interpreted by CalArts students.

4pm – Milka Djordjevich, Kinetic Augmentations, 2019

5pm – For Phil Willson, (1979 ) by Pauline Oliveros From Deep Listening Publications, © 2009    
Courtesy of The Pauline Oliveros Trust ( Member ASCAP.
Interpreted by CalArts students.

5:20pm – Yoko Ono, Touch poem 5, 1963, interpreted by CalArts students.

5:40pm – Mark Geffriaud, Toast, 2019.

6:20pm – Yoko Ono, TAPE PIECE II, 1963, interpreted by CalArts students.


March 9, March 23, April 6, April 20, May 18 and June 1

Milka Djordjevich will perform at 3pm.


The exhibition is made possible by generous support from the MAK Center for Art and Architecture.
This FLAX Project is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission; and the FLAX Creative Circle including The Skylark Foundation, Arthur Forney, Olga Garay English and John Mark Horton.
Within and with the additional support of Ceci n’est pas, an artistic season of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States.