The Hive: A Hypothetical Social Distance Performance Venue Solution
Updated: Apr 25
As we enter month four of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic; performers, theatre-makers, and avid performance attendees are facing an existential crisis: "What is our future?" As the world has gone into varying degrees of lockdowns and quarantines, theatre makers, performers, and live event professionals have had a life-long career investment rug pulled out from under their feet -- a career focused on community enrichment and cultural servitude. As long as we continue to think "inside of the box", it will become increasingly difficult for artists and storytellers to find our footing. With the possibilities of new viruses arising, along with many unknowns surrounding the current novel virus that causes #COVID-19, we must evolve our thinking in terms of how and where future live performances happen.
For the past two-and-a-half months I have social distanced with my partner in Ithaca, NY where I am now an Assistant Professor of Design in the department for Performing & Media Arts at Cornell University. The time and space in my current location and circumstances has allowed me to imagine the possibilities of where public performances can and may occur while coexisting with human pandemics.
The concepts and ideas represented in these design materials are merely a starting place. I hope that passionate individuals will be piqued by the general concepts expressed in these ideas and collaborate with me if they are inspired to do so.
The thoughts of Architects, App Designer & Developers, Lighting Designers, Sound Designers, Costume Designers, Directors, Performers, Stage Managers, Production Managers, Technical Directors, Landscape Architects, Landscape Designers, Interior Designers, and other performance-based/public space artisans along with audience members would bring useful points of view for refining the concept of The Hive.
The Performing Arts have answered to the profit-centered structures of American capitalism for too long. The Hive does not answer to this economic structure. The hive will be owned by communities: a public space that is shared by local organizations who engage in live performances and presentations as their medium of expression. The Hive will be "rented" to these organizations by way of grants; grass roots funds; organizational funds; local community cultural fund-raising; and earnest philanthropy. The Hive will operate utilizing existing local unionized labor with community-based partnerships.
Sitting on about an acre and a quarter of land (depending on existing infrastructure); as designed, The Hive quickly earns its worth through cultural enrichment and green initiatives. With tunnel functioning auto-sanitizing ADA accessible gender neutral restrooms designed to send blackwater to a filtration system, The Hive makes waste water suitable for surrounding agriculture. Green Glass technology allows light energy to be captured by The Hive reducing interior temperature and simultaneously capturing electronic energy to power light and utilities. The Hive is also designed to consist of Green Concrete, Green Steel, Natural Sod, Natural Foliage, and Recycled Rubber Composite Materials for ergonomically sound flooring for both attendees and performers.
Gatherings and live performances are a human main-stay and play a necessary role in community fellowship. If you are interested in collaborating with me on the concepts of The Hive in any capacity, I welcome your input. There is no existing funding -- so far this is my personal project.
While this pandemic pandemonium continues, it is important to shape the future rather than fear it.