Act I: The Empty Space
Artists Jesper Just and FOS collaborate on a sky-high performance.
Like many New Yorkers, the Danish artist Jesper Just became more acutely aware of the missing Twin Towers once their replacement was finally completed, in 2014. Morning sun reflects off the glass facade of 1 World Trade Center (1 WTC) directly into Just’s bedroom window—so now, every day, he’s awakened an hour earlier. “That was my starting point,” says Just of the piece he will present for Performa this month. “I always begin with a place. If I don’t have a place, I have no ideas, nothing.” Building on his fascination with the ways in which architecture dictates our behavior, Just is collaborating with fellow Danish artist FOS to create an elaborate, circuitous installation involving sound, video, live classical music, and funhouse-like mirrors on the 54th floor of 4 World Trade Center. The piece offers a deliberately distorted view of 1 WTC, which Just says he has come to think of as a prosthetic on the city’s skyline. Just explored similar concepts earlier this year in Servitudes, an immersive eight-video work featuring the model Dree Hemingway (whose image is projected here) and Rylee Sweeney, a young girl who suffers from a debilitating neurological disease, that was filmed on location at 1 WTC. But while Servitudes was shown at the Palais de Tokyo, in Paris, the new piece, given the vantage of downtown New York, will no doubt achieve a greater sense of urgency and trepidation. “The motion of the exhibition incites anticipation for a climax of action,” Just says. “However, there is none. There is no pyrotechnic finale.