The Alhambra Project focuses on the former Alhambra Theatre, located on Polk Street in San Francisco’s Russian Hill neighborhood. Now a Crunch Gym, this theatre interprets the architecture and patterning of the Alhambra in Spain through a very Western lens. In its current incarnation as a gym, the site also brings into sharp relief the demographic changes in the Russian Hill neighborhood while also referencing its diverse histories.
For over a year, Bay Area filmmaker/artists Lynn Marie Kirby and Christoph Steger have been working to develop a layered history of cultural patterning and visions of exoticism through this extraordinary site, researching the complex mathematical patterns of the Alhambra, interviewing members of the local Russian Hill/Polk Gulch community and incorporating their personal histories into their project. In this one-night-only event, the artists will present site-specific films, videos and performances within and around the Crunch Gym. The moving image installation includes animations of traditional Islamic geometric designs, a tour of the original Alhambra, video of neighborhood pets and a text collaboration with the Lebanese American poet Etel Adnan. Meanwhile a performative exercise class, open to the public, will re-enact gestures from the Hollywood films that screened at the Theatre 1926–1996. Finally, there will be a walking tour of the neighborhood through a new mobile app that incorporates key historic and present-day sites and many local businesses.
Kirby and Steger have also created an online artwork about this project at http://thealhambraproject.com/.
Image above from http://thealhambraproject.com/.