Stephan Koplowitz’s site work aims to alter people’s perspectives of place, site, and scale, all infused with a sense of the human condition and is concerned with the intersection of natural, social, and cultural ecologies within urban and natural environments. By creating original works for public spaces, both urban and environmental, communities can discover and rediscover the knowns and unknowns of their town square.
Concurrently, Koplowitz believes our ever-growing obsession with digital/virtual space can be offset by reclaiming public spaces for the general public and creating works that bridge analog and digital worlds in a complementary manner.
His first site-specific work was commissioned by Dancing in the Streets, Fenestrations for the windows of Grand Central Terminal. This work was seen, over two performances by 16,000 people and was critically acclaimed and has since been considered a seminal example of site-specific choreography. Many of his site-specific works from 1987 have occurred in locations for the first time and are considered historic in terms of art and production.
Since the premiere of Fenestrations in 1987, Koplowitz has created a total of 55 site-specific works. Early in his career, through Dancing in the Streets, he went on to create five more large scale site-specific works (1988-91) at the Wexner Center for the Arts, the American Museum of Natural History, Union Station, Washington DC, the State of Illinois Center, Chicago and the 30th Street Station, Philadelphia.
His first full-length site-specific works started in 1993 with Off the Walls, an event at the Portland Museum of Art (Maine), followed by two significant commissions from the Dance Umbrella Festival in London at the Natural History Museum Genesis Canyon and the British Library, Babel Index. In 1999, he was the first artist commissioned by the Choreographic Centre NRW, Essen, Germany with the premiere of Kokerei Projekt: Köhle Korper.
Since the year 2000, he has created works at the Library of the Performing Arts, Lincoln Center, (In)Formations (2000), the Rice University Campus, Houston, Pettengill Hall-Atrium on the Bates College campus (2003), The Grand Step Project, 2004, for grand staircases across three boroughs of New York City, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (iseea, 2007), Stephan Koplowitz: TaskForce, a site-touring company, was inaugurated in 2008 with creative residencies/performances in Idyllwild, CA, Los Angeles, CA (2008), Plymouth, UK (2009), and Houston, Texas (2012). TaskForce has created over 20 site-specific works, collaborating with over 30 music, theater, visual arts, and media artists. Gustavus Adolphus College campus (2012), the Waterwall Park, Houston (2012), the Milwaukee Art Museum and North Point Water Tower, Milwaukee (2013), the Los Angeles Metro (2013), the Ohio State University campus (2014), Waterfront Park, San Diego (2015), Yerba Buena Gardens, SF (2017), Bates Mill Complex, Lewiston, ME (2017), Northfield, MN (2018), The Wooden Floor in Santa Ana, (Passage Home,2021)….
As an artist/educator, Koplowitz has taught courses and master classes on site-specific creation and production methods for over twenty years. As a writer and lecturer he is a contributor to the first book published on site-specific choreography, Site Dance, published by Florida University Press. His course, Creating Site-Specific Dance and Performance Works, online from 2013-2016, was the first dance-related course on Coursera and the MOOC platform. Over 21,000 people from 154 countries have registered for this course. In 2022, Oxford University Press will publish his first book On Site: Methods for Creating Site-Specific Performance.