The project “Hay! A Haystack Theater for the Færderbiennalen” presents a temporary installation for performance and assembly integrated into a circular economy of materials at the Færderbiennalen. Anchored by principles of sustainability and place-making, the Haystack Theater merges Tønsberg’s natural features with the practicality of industrial ready-made materials to create a structure that is low-impact, programmatically versatile, and ecologically integrated. This structure aims to inspire audiences to engage with performances, their surroundings, and the past, present, and future of Tønsberg.

The installation emphasizes flexible configuration, performance, and place-making. It employs modularity as its tectonic logic and places performance at the core of its programmatic vision.

Envisioned as a four-sided venue, the Haystack Theater’s design utilizes stacked haystacks to craft a terraced amphitheater, centering a stage for performances. The installation’s modular design enables the theater to expand according to program requirements and accommodate various configurations for different audience-performer dynamics. A PVC fabric “roof” secured atop the structure can be rolled out to shield the space from rain and sun while doubling as a canvas for digital projections after dusk.

By day, the theater blends seamlessly into the landscape, piquing the curiosity of visitors. At night, the PVC screen fabric can be unfurled, enveloping the entire facade to facilitate projection and nocturnal performances.

The project facilitates performance in two ways: firstly, by fostering publicly-engaging programs and place-making during the Færderbiennalen; and secondly, by conceptualizing the installation and de-installation processes of the theater as a performance that interacts with the regional ecology.

The Haystack Theater regards the building process, particularly the de-installation process of the structure, as an act of environmental performance. By utilizing hay, a natural material typically used as livestock feed or ground fertilizer, as a building material, the theater allows for feeding, loosening, sagging, and other natural processes to occur during the theater’s time on the ground. By the end of Færderbiennalen, a flock of sheep, a herd of horses, or cows can be invited to partake in the site’s transformation where they can feed on the hay. The de-installation as an environmental performance returns the hay to the agricultural and ecological cycles of Tønsberg, continuing the cycle of materials of the region. After the performance, the scaffolding framing system, too, can find new life in local construction (Depending on the Færderbiennalen’s preference, alternatively, the haystacks can be donated to local farms).

Location:  Tønsberg , Norway
Status: Ongoing

Aerial axon


The Performance of Construction
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