PLAYing with Geometry

People usually ask what came first when creating a performance? Was it the choreography, music, costumes, set? Well in this interview, we know the Star Tetrahedron that James Wise designed for the set of PLAY came before the project PLAY! Not sure how they finally found one another, but that is something we hope to discover in our interview with artist James Wise. Our Residency @ the Center coordinator, Paige Krause, talked about his collaboration with Theresa Wasiloski and his Star Tetrahedron sculptures that invite anyone to climb, swing, hang and PLAY on them!

Paige: So James, tell us how and why you started designing star tetrahedron sculptures?

James: I became interested in sacred geometry 10 years ago when a friend showed me the work of Drunvalo. I was drawn to the simplicity and mysticism, but also to the tangible feel it gave to the energetic world. The star tetrahedron, for me is a symbol, representing the point where the observer and the universe are connected. One day I had a bunch of bamboo, and I just decided to build a star tetrahedron. I knew it was a beautiful shape, but I had no idea how much fun it would be to play on one.

Paige: Another interesting element is the material you use and recycle to create the pieces. Can you give us details on the process of collecting and creating the work?

James: I use bamboo, sourced locally, and recycled bike tubes from local bike shops. Bike tubes are a great resource because they provide superior binding power that offers flexibility and they get a second life before they go to a landfill. Bamboo is amazingly beautiful, natural and ethereal, just being around it makes you appreciate natural form and balance. It grows so fast, is so strong, and yet also mostly hollow; even the “woody” parts of it are filled with air holes.

Paige: So tell us more about the collaboration between yourself and Theresa. How did the conversation begin and what excites you most about working with her on the piece PLAY?

James: Theresa heard that I had made things out of bamboo, and we got together and started talking. I suggested star tetrahedrons made from bamboo as props, movable, climbable, set pieces. She liked the idea and we went from there. I’m super exited to see the pieces used in a stage production, especially one as fun as PLAY.

Paige: An element that I think is exciting is that you create these pieces with the intention of encouraging play for someone that might discover them, like in a public space. With this collaboration, you have a choreographer that approaches you because her intention is to create a piece of work all around the idea of play! Have you observed rehearsals and seen the dancers interactions on the star tetrahedrons?

James: Yes, I’ve seen one little teaser during an ArtWalk, it was defiantly playful, I liked it. I think these structures would do well in public spaces, people love to climb and swing on things.

Paige: So what are you excited to see from the collaboration?

James: I’m looking forward to seeing how the star tetrahedrons are manipulated on the stage. They can easily be turned so that only two corners are touching the ground, or rolled, or put on one point so the appearance of two pyramids passing through each other is apparent. It will be awesome to see how people move through them, or on them.

Paige: So what are you currently working on and where can we find more about your work?

James: Currently I’m working on furniture – tables mostly – made from reclaimed wood, with cement tops. It’s modern rustic furniture. Find out more by talking to me or send a telegram, or email.


Paige: So how does James PLAY?

James: I play everyday in every way.

Paige: Thanks, James! We can’t wait to see your pieces in the production of PLAY!

James: Thank you so much. I can’t wait to see the production.


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