At first sight online http://www.seic.com/enUS/about/13065.htm or in person, the “Slow and Inevitable Death of American Muscle” may seem as exciting as watching paint dry. The new installation in the Kimmel Center lobby features two American muscle cars moving in very slow motion, nose to nose – three-quarters of an inch per day.
But return to this Kimmel Center attraction in-person or via live web camera tracking on your computer. The decay will eventually be extreme and dramatic, vows creator Jonathan Schipper, as his specially constructed gear pushes the two cars into contact and compression, eventually reduced to a pile of crushed steel and shattered glass. A telling commentary on how American heavy industry has largely been undone – not in big steps, but one bad day after another?
The happening marks the transformation of the Kimmel into an emerging art exhibit featuring works from the West Collection – steered by SEI chairman and CEO Alfred P. West, Jr. – and celebration of the Kimmel’s rejuvenated SEI Innovation Studio. On Thursday, the performing arts center also unveiled a new entrance for the studio space featuring a massive 20 by 30 foot painted glass panel (switchable) and a square Column of Light tube in the Kimmel’s Commonwealth Plaza that descends into the lower level where the Innovation Studio holds forth.
Also announced were new jazz and theater residencies for the black box Innovation theater. Composers Bobby Zankel and Francois Zayas will be collaborating with choreographer Raphael Xavier, and Pablo Batista with his band The Mambo Syndicate. Two Obie award winners - actress poet and playwright Dael Orlandersmith and Yale drama instructor/actor/director/producer Deb Margolin - also will be cooking up something good.