UTOPIA: space is a durational, site-responsive performance by Vladimir Kremenović set in Freeway Park, the first freeway lid project in the United States. It celebrates the work of Angela Danadjieva, the immigrant woman who designed the Park’s renowned landscapes. UTOPIA: space activates Freeway Park by transforming it into an evolving art-making hub, with two months of open rehearsals, visual installations, and a free performance. Featuring dance by CommonForm and design intervention by VIA Architecture, the project brings us together to steward our communal reemergence from isolation and rediscovery of public life.
It is the third performance in the UTOPIA series, an ongoing art project started by Kremenović in 2019 to explores the heritage of brutalism, contradictions between communism and democracy, the lasting implications of Yugoslavia’s dissolution, and their personal experiences with the Bosnian War and immigration to the United States.
Underwritten by John Robinson. Presented by Freeway Park Association and Seattle Design Festival, with additional support from Velocity Dance Center, Seattle Parks and Rec, and funding by 4Culture. It is a part of Bodies of Discovery, a collaborative exhibition organized by the Henry Art Gallery, On the Boards, and Velocity Dance Center, supported by the Downtown Seattle Association.
Vladimir Kremenović (he/they) is a queer immigrant performer, filmmaker, and arts administrator based in Seattle, WA. Originally from Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, he moved to the US in 2013 to pursue degrees in film and dance from Middlebury College, VT.
Vladimir has presented physical and virtual dance works across Seattle, as well as inter/national arts organizations in Oregon, California, British Columbia, Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia.
With a background in natural sciences and biochemical research, Vladimir approaches the creative process as an empirical study. His work draws upon themes from nature, architecture, and history to create algorithmic “movement sculptures” anchored in time and place.
Descending from a long lineage of Bosnian peasants, Vladimir’s art rejects the elitism of post-modernism while embracing its capacity for performer/audience autonomy and freedom from colonialist/classicist ideals.
Kremenović started the CommonForm project in 2019, with the goal of creating works that are highly engaging, but not entertaining; rigorous, but not technical; political, but not contrived; approachable, but not simplified. CommonForm combines postmodern choreography, interdisciplinary collaboration, and Kremenović’s Slavic heritage to create choreographic containers for radical empathy and to raise awareness of the issues in Balkan countries.
Our market sectors include transit facilities; multi-family housing; mixed-use developments; social/ affordable housing including seniors’ living; mid to high-rise buildings; community spaces for education, worship, art, and congregation; and urban design.
Our planning work includes integration of land use and transportation; employment-based developments and innovation in place; residential and mixed-use communities; creation of rezoning applications and development agreements; and overlays of transit and parking strategies- all contributing directly to the livability of our urban communities.
We have provided architecture, design, planning, and consulting services on public and private projects for over 35 years with an emphasis on work that shapes our neighborhoods and regions.
The first park constructed over a freeway, Freeway Park has a long history of serving to bridge and build community. Lawrence Halprin and Angela Danadjieva, the landscape architects responsible for Freeway Park’s design, envisioned a park that would restore pedestrian access between Seattle’s Downtown, Capitol Hill and First Hill neighborhoods, thereby repairing the gap generated by the development of Interstate 5 through downtown Seattle. After its completion on July 4, 1976, Freeway Park quickly became a popular urban oasis. Over five acres in size, Freeway Park is a maze of unique architectural forms, fountains, plazas and pathways. Its distinct spaces are flexible and lend themselves to large gatherings as well as peaceful solitude. The Park’s 2010 landscape renovation brought attention back to the diverse canopy of mature trees, the series of bright grassy plazas and the array of seasonal blooms throughout the year.
Just as the Park acts to bring communities together, its namesake, Jim Ellis served the Seattle community tirelessly as a citizen activist and leader of such campaigns as those that cleaned up Lake Washington and established Seattle Metro in the 1950’s. Jim and Mary Lou Ellis are honored as community visionaries the WSCC Plaza on the North side of the Park. Freeway Park is at once an historic landmark and an ever changing urban landscape that reflects the diverse needs of its community.
FPA started as a few concerned neighbors hoping to bring life back into their aging neighborhood park. Today we are a coalition of 1200 individual members, 15 organizational members, 12 volunteer board members and 2 staff – an Executive Director and a Program & Engagement Coordinator. Our members and volunteers make up the backbone of the Association and represent our neighbors on First Hill and Downtown. We are also supported by a diverse array of partners who provide programming, funding and outreach.
In 2019, FPA celebrates our 25th anniversary as community stewards of Freeway Park. Our work to date includes advocacy and fundraising to support projects like the widened 8th ave underpass, new pedestrian scale lighting, the 2010 landscape renovation and the Finding Freeway Park Project. We also develop dynamic activation and programming strategies like the Dancing til Dusk and Community Kites programs. Most recently, we worked with the Community Package Coalition to secure $10 million dollars for restoration and upgrades to the Parks’s infrastructure as well as modern amenities like wayfinding and public restrooms to make it an accessible and equitable public space for our growing city our growing number of visitors.
Seattle Design Festival
Lake Union Park
August 21-22, 2021
10am – 7pm
As the summer of 2021 is coming into focus we are excited to move into this Festival season with optimism and hope. With this year’s Seattle Design Festival theme EMERGE, we invite participants to explore the opportunities of adaptation and change as we move forward with what we’ve learned from 2020.
Join us in South Lake Union August 21 & 22 for a weekend of innovation and design! See the full festival schedule of Built Installations & Pop-up Experiences here, and connect with other Festival teams at our Sneak Peek on August 7, 10a-12p, at the Center for Architecture and Design.
UTOPIA: space is part of Bodies of Discovery, an expansive group exhibition taking place over the Summer/Fall of 2021 and featuring a series of performances, films, and installations. Set and performed in outdoor plazas and parks throughout downtown Seattle, this constellation of works explores the (re)activation of the physical body in our again-accessible public space, and will create sites of artistic discovery in unexpected places over the course of the exhibition.
Bodies of Discovery is a collaborative exhibition organized by the Henry Art Gallery, On the Boards, and Velocity Dance Center, supported by the Metropolitan Improvement District. It is presented in conjunction with Murmurations, a Seattle-wide arts collaboration featuring a series of exhibitions, performances, screenings, community conversations, artist talks, and other programs co-developed between cultural organizations.