Blog post - April 2013 photo

SLAM allows us to experiment not just with action but also with format, mediums, structure, time and neighborhood. SLAM occupies a former garage; the modern day incubator for many American inventions and discoveries — rock & roll, hi tech hardware and software; a place where people feel free to experiment, fix that which is broken or even wreck in the service of creation.

We translate the invented-added-value in the actions of our Action Mavericks*, their recognition of their potentially new territories will not look, feel or smell like the territories we heretofore have understood as new (to us)…Philippe, Noe and Ivan and Hugh, get thrilled in different ways, for different physical reasons, by a move. Even their eyes gazing on the new moves of STREB gives us pause. We see our new moves differently.

We have legally 5,000 square feet of usable space. We are expanding our FAR (floor area ratio) in the only way we legally can in pure and extreme action terms by building in mid-air and down the side of a wall and on the roof. Our model for this is the mathematical explanation found in the Banach–Tarski paradox which implies that you can take the space inside a sphere that is the size of a pea and rearrange it to create a sphere the size of the Sun. With this project, we are re-purposing this space to swing within, to climb against, to walk on a frozen line above the ground and balance aloft. As Shira P. White says in her book, New Ideas about New Ideas, “value is deeply affected by context.”

SLAM draws new troops of action-obsessed humans. We then have new “Real Estate” not by increasing our FAR but by literally re-inventing what our action-version of a new and different FAR might be: onto a thin wire; on nubs again a wall; and with swings in the air. SLAM is real estate that is not a space hog – once the actions are executed, the space necessary to allow their execution disappears but the people and their territory are no longer strangers and as a result, they change SLAM’s territory and themselves. Different action dreams draw different action types. (E. Streb)

* In 2006, STREB inaugurated the annual ACTION MAVERICK Award benefit which grew out of Elizabeth Streb’s passion to, in her words, “honor of those heroes of movement who’ve blazed trails, those transgressive action specialists whose seemingly reckless journeys are, in reality, a society’s insignia for bravery and courage. These action maverick heroes exist as a constant and eternal reminder of all the moves yet left to do.” To date, STREB has honored Philippe Petit (2006) who 30 years ago walked on a high wire between the World Trade Center Towers 1,350 feet above the ground, world-renowned aerialists Noe and Ivan España (2007), Dr. Hugh Herr (2008), Heinz-award winning director of the MIT Biomechatronics Lab, rock-climbing prodigy, Cheryl Stearns (2009), accomplished aviator and the world’s most successful competitive skydiver, choreographer Trisha Brown (2010), record-setting long distance swimmer Diana Nyad (2011), dressage champion Bettina Drummond (2012) and this year, STREB will be honoring the architecture firm Snohettta as the 2013 ACTION MAVERICKS.

Out of the simple act of acknowledging these individual’s achievements came a synergy that sparked a continuing conversation between the company and the ACTION MAVERICK honorees — Herr has advised Streb on the use of body enhancement technology and the Españas have designed the company’s own version of the “Wheel of Death.” Through these informal exchanges and formal collaborations, this distinct group of action pioneers has realized that points of connection and interconnection between different disciplines can explode the boundaries of action experimentation.

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