A hybrid street performance at the nexus of social sculpture and environmental design, Backyard Conversations is direct and personal. Embracing the vocabulary of the guided tour and its connections to public spectacle and sightseeing, Wysong’s tours explore the intricacies of building a contemporary urban utopia. Putting a human face on the glistening, pristine concrete and steel of Portland’s new South Waterfront community, each of the three performances begins by looking at a different aspect of the former wetland turned into an industrial site and continues with a discussion of the built environment as social hieroglyph.

Backyard Conversations was originally commissioned by the South Waterfront Artist in Residence (AiR) Program as part of its Monthly Guest Artist Series. The AiR program is directed by dance artist Linda K. Johnson and sponsored by Williams & Dame Development and Gerding Edlen Development. Additional support for this project came from the Regional Arts and Culture Council.