Category Archives: art projects

Ann Hamilton’s Park Avenue Armory Playground

Just as food group giant Danone starts its evian ‘live young’ branding swing through London (see previous post), New York City is getting ready to wrap its own art swing happening that’s been pulling in the crowds at Manhattan’s Park Avenue Armory for the last month.

GlassSwingingComposer Philip Glass coursing through the air at Ann Hamilton’s ‘the event of a thread’. Photo credit – Ellen Knuti. Source – Park Avenue Armory

This weekend is the last chance to have your toes kiss the sky at Ann Hamilton’s ‘the event of a thread’ which closes Sunday, January 6. From the New York Times to twitterville’s vox populi reviews are soaring on this participatory installation that fills the cavernous armory space with billowing motion.

A field of swings, a film of suspended fabric, pigeons, manuscripts and readers, a writer, broadcasts and song all come together to recreate at each instant a new thread similar to but unlike its previous or future iteration. In the opening paragraph of the artist statement for the show Hamilton says:

I can remember the feeling of swinging—how hard we would work for those split seconds, flung at furthest extension, just before the inevitable downward and backward pull, when we felt momentarily free of gravity, a little hiccup of suspension when our hands loosened on the chain and our torsos raised off the seat. We were sailing, so inside the motion—time stopped—and then suddenly rushed again toward us. We would line up on the playground and try to touch the sky, alone together.

Many SwingsPhoto credit – James Ewing. Source – Park Avenue Armory

Art, play, wonder, mindfulness. I wish I could swing, hear, be at Park Avenue Armory this weekend. Ann, we have an Armory here in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Do you want to take the show on the road? Maybe next Christmas season in Canada’s far east hugging the Atlantic’s wintry shores. What a wonderful gift that would be.

tumblr_mfjk1wYkBg1rlnyido1_1280Photo credit – Da Ping Luo. Source – Park Avenue Armory

The Electric Art of Swinging

I’m a sucker for swings. They can be a gentle relaxing glide, or a drop thrill sweeping ride.

In Portugal this past week, as part of the European Capital of Culture in Guimarães, a pop-up swing installation greeted visitors to the International Centre for the Arts Jose de Guimarães.

Source: moradavaga 2012

Constructed on a foundation of donated pallets, the wooden block swings generated electricity by rigging up bicycle chains and wheels to capture the energy of arcing motion.

See how it works here in this short video produced by the Moradavaga Collective for their playable public art, SWING.

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SWING is art, play and a tribute to the city’s industrial heritage.

If you love swings check these earlier PlayGroundology posts: In Montreal the Swings Are Alive With The Sound of Music; The Unbearable Lightness of Swinging.

Drop in on PlayGroundology’s FB page for a video posted earlier today of a wild rope swing ride shot in Utah.

In Toronto, A Kids’ Eye View

Triumphal arches of play bridge the toddlers’ and big kids’ play areas at the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground in Toronto’s High Park. Vertical columns and cross beams are alive with kid’s eye view watercolours.

Click for slideshow of playground watercolours and imagine yourself nestled in the small dell encircled by woods. This is the best open air permanent exhibit I’ve seen in sometime. Enjoy.

Stay tuned for more on the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground in upcoming PlayGroundology posts.

A Salute to Mrs. J

I’ve never met Mrs. J but I know I’d like her. She’s the kind of teacher that encourages curious minds and creates a discovery zone for her young charges. I came across her website a couple of months ago and have been meaning to feature it for some time. Today is the day.

Our five-year-old son is enjoying his first year in school and loves his primary teacher, Mrs. Smith (no relation). As we concluded our parent – teacher meeting this afternoon, I was reminded how much we should treasure and thank these caring and creative professionals.

Mrs. J is an art teacher for K – 5 in Nashville, Tennessee. Her blog is chock full of great projects just as suitable for home as for school. She also has an excellent blog roll. Plenty of material here to keep the young ones arty for quite some time.

I was attracted to Mrs. J’s playground project for a grade one class. Here is the wall of play.

The ‘Build your own Playground’ lesson is right here. What if we could get 1000s of digital images of kids’ art depicting playgrounds to create a virtual gallery in support of those parents who are trying to get recess restored in their schools?

Do you want to play? Have kids, classes, teachers, parents send digitized art to:

@playgroundology, or

playgroundology@gmail.com

Thanks to Mrs. J for the great art project ideas, for the playground artwork and for the inspiration. When we saw our son’s pride today as he read to us and showed us his work it made me think that Mrs. J and Mrs. Smith are cut from the same wondrous cloth.