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The event of a thread | Ann Hamilton
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The event of a thread | Ann Hamilton

Who says that only kids can play on swings? This large-scale multimedia installation titled the event of a thread by visual artist Ann Hamilton invites an interactive audience to revisit their playful childhood and ride the 42 swings that have been set up. The 55,000-square-foot space boasts a giant billowing white curtain that separates the hall. The towering curtain is, in fact, controlled by the back and forth swaying motion of people on swings. The installation proves to be about far more than simple playground fun. It is, perhaps, more of a metaphor about life and human connectivity.

In addition to the swing-controlled curtain, there are stacks of cages containing 42 homing pigeons and a station at which two readers speak into microphones. The text they are reading imparts knowledge that guests to the exhibit are free to choose to listen to. Knowledge is, after all, a choice one makes to attain. There is also a station where the artist herself is positioned, viewing the entirety of the exhibit through a mirror as though she can only gauge the success of the event by evaluating herself.

The intricately involved installation as a whole can be interpreted in a variety of ways though it’s clear that the experience depends on interactivity. The exhibit’s statement reads: A multisensory affair, the work draws together readings, sound, and live events within a field of swings that together invite visitors to connect to the action of each other and the work itself, illuminating the experience of the singular and collective body.”

The event of a thread is currently on display at Park Avenue Armory through January 6, 2013. For those of you in New York, the exhibition will be open from 12pm to 7am for FREE this Saturday December 8, 2012.

Photo credits: [Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images, Bebeto Matthews/AP, CollabCubedPark Avenue Armory]

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