Drive-In Marfa (DIM), Project

Marfa, Texas | 2005



Ballroom Marfa is a non-profit space in Marfa, TX dedicated to contemporary art and culture. It is a place in which varied cultural perspectives are explored through the visual arts, music and film. The Ballroom is an advocate for artistic expression, innovation and creative awareness. One of its earliest installation Prada Marfa by Elmgren & Dragsett has become a landmark work within the discourses of art and architecture.


The Drive-In-Marfa Project was conceptualised to be the first American Drive-In produced by a non-profit cultural arts space. The project is a unique collaboration between Ballroom Marfa, guest curators Tina Di Carlo and Josh Siegel of The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), NY, and architect Ole Scheeren. The architect was selected by the Ballroom from an international pool of young emerging designers assembled by architecture curator Tina Di Carlo. The Drive-In is to be located on five-acres of ranchland one mile west of Marfa, in close proximity to the original drive-in theater.

Drive-in movie theaters helped define West Texas for much of the 20th century. Set amidst sweeping plains, distant mountain ranges, and dark night skies, the design evokes impressions beyond the confines of architecture by imagining the Drive-In as a moment of inexplicable density within the open landscape, a traffic junction in the emptiness of the terrain. A continuous road is split, resulting in a midstream pooling of cars. Two circles, nested in plan and offset in section, re-configure the traditional cinema to carefully embed it in the existing topography and create smooth, dynamic entry and exit paths.

The inaugural film series was to be organised by Josh Siegel, a film and media curator at MoMA. The program was inspired by Marfa’s important place in film history, in which classics such as George Steven’s Giant, John Wayne’s The Alamo, Robert Wise’s The Andromeda Strain, Steven Speilberg’s Sugerland Express, and most recently Tommy Lee Jone’s The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada were shot. Films premiering on September 28 will include: 3:10 To Yuma (Delmer Daves, 1957), The Wind (Victor Sjostrom, 1928), Targets (Peter Bogdanovich, 1968), Bird With Crystal Plumage (Dario Argento, 1969), The Man Who Fell To Earth (Nicholas Roeg, 1976), and They Live By Night (Nicholas Ray, 1947).

Work: Curating