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Designing the Festival

Once we develop a conceptual theme for a program and complete fieldwork research, we design the layout for the presentations within the physical and regulatory parameters of the National Mall.

The idea of a “journey” through the featured ecosystems inspired the layout for the Colombia program. The visitors could then experience “the nature of culture,” that is, how culture is shaped by natural conditions, as they travelled through Colombia while meeting the artists in their distinct environments.

Construction Process

The “Progressive Structure” erected in the middle of the Mall symbolized life in the The Metropolitan Cities. Separate stages and display/workshop areas featured music, dance, foodways, material culture, and narrative presentations. In the display/workshop areas, different ecosystems were delineated by large signs with images of the distinctive landscapes and traditions practiced there. A topographical map, approximately 8.5 by 11.5 feet, complemented the “journey.”

This site design provided spaces for demonstrations as well as informal settings for interaction among artists and with the public. For example at the “Tienda Paisa,” which evoked a country store in the coffee triangle, musicians would convene for informal jam sessions, to rest and socialize; and they would invite visitors to join them in games, such as top spinning.

Designing the Festival

The visitors’ path through the Festival site took them on a journey from the highlands into the lowlands as they followed the snake-like trail. Click to view PDF.

Signage in Context
Making the Map

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