Just an ozone-laden breath before rush hour, I arrive at an old, brick industrial building at the point where 14th Street dead-ends at Howell Mill Road. I've arranged to meet D. Patton White, artistic director of Beacon Dance, in the loft apartment of video editor Stig Rasmussen, where the two of them are hunkered down editing video from The Mapping Project: You Are Here!. I take a wrong turn, double back to find the parking lot around back. There's a deep well of loading docks down below the lot, so I climb down a twisted, over-steep metal staircase, then call White on his cell to come guide me through a maze of staircases and corridors.
Inside, Rasmussen is at an editing suite; behind him large windows look out onto an expansive view of the ever-changing city. "From this porch," says Rasmussen, "I've watched the big blue box of IKEA pop up, and Atlantic Station, and you can always see a few cranes."
"A map that you buy in the store," says White, "represents one instant in time. And really, as soon as it's off the press, it's already history and it's already out of date."
White started playing around with maps as an inspiration for dance about three years ago. "I can sit down with a map of just about anywhere and be fascinated just by looking at it," says White. "Because of what they represent ... possibility. [I started] playing with the idea of not only working with maps but also finding ways to create maps, to find ways for other people to create maps, to open up the possibility of what a map is."
So each month for the past year, Beacon has performed a site-specific work in a different DeKalb County park or nature center, each piece inspired by and interacting directly with the unique features of that park. This weekend at Eyedrum, Beacon presents its completed "map": A multimedia installation including video from all 12 dances, live-mixed music by Allen Welty-Green, and live, interactive performances and storytelling by the dancers.
In the spirit of the work, I recommend you skip the Google or MapQuest directions to Eyedrum. Pull out a paper map and find your own way.
Beacon Dance presents The Mapping Project: You Are Here!, Fri.-Sat., June 16-17, 8-10 p.m. Eyedrum, 290 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Free. 404-377-2929. www.beacondance.org.