Swings have taken over the historic Park Avenue Armory! A new installation by artist Ann Hamilton has transformed the cavernous space into a beautiful interactive piece called “The Event of a Thread” where visitors are invited to play on forty-two dangling swings throughout the space which manipulate an enormous hanging piece of fabric. The effect is a majestic ripple that flows through the curtain like a wave.
The Park Avenue armory was built in 1880, and was converted into an interactive arts venue in 2006. For Hamilton’s installation, the sprawling 55,000 square foot main hall has been turned into an over-sized swing set. Visitors are connected to the installation, and to one another, by a series of cables that also link them to the fabric.
When guests first enter the great hall, they are met by two readers orating the writings of Aristotle at a table stacked with cages of trained pigeons. Past the reading table, visitors encounter the swings which are scattered throughout. Each swing, which is big enough for two people, is connected to a piece of the central white fabric, and also to a weight that can be seen going up and down in the balcony that faces the fabric. When visitors begin swinging, the fabric unfurls, creating peaks and valleys. When all of the swings are occupied, the fabric undulates rapidly but gracefully.
The artist herself has her own station at the opposite end of the hall, seated at a desk that faces away from the curtain. A built-in mirror, which is also connected to the rest of the piece with chain cables, allows Hamilton to look at the moving curtain in the reflection.
The Event of a Thread welcomes visitors to participate until January 6, 2013.
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Photos ©Lori Zimmer for Inhabitat except where noted.