Pole Dance by SO-IL at P.S.1


Lyon Housemuseum by Lyons

New York firm Solid Objectives - Idenburg Liu (SO-IL) invite visitors to swing on 30 poles outside the P.S.1 Contemporary Art Centre in New York.

Pole Dance by SO-IL

Called Pole Dance, the grid of bendy poles are linked at the top by a stretchy web with brightly-coloured balls bouncing around on top.

Pole Dance by SO-IL

The netting dips in places to meet a paddling pool and sand pit. Hammocks, pulleys and rain-collectors all cause the structure to move and change shape.

Pole Dance by SO-IL

The project is the eleventh such annual installation in the MoMA/P.S.1 Young Architects Program.

See also these installations from earlier years:

Afterparty by MOS at P.S.1 (2009)
Public Farm One by Work Architecture Company at P.S.1 (2008)

Photographs are by Iwan Baan. See the full set on his website.

Here's some more information from SO-IL:

How liberating is it to be an architect these days. Never have the dominant systems been so frail. If one can steer clear of crashing debris of hubris, there is a daunting space dawning to be explored. As we free ourselves from the fascination of the finite, we can start to capture the elastic cloud that our habitation of this planet has become. It was our naïve hope to capture this gigantic cloud of human and environmental turmoil into a wall off little triangle in Long Island City. New ecologies, economies, energies, flows, fantasies, nothing is grounded anymore, footloose we bounce around on a network of intersections and knots. The limbs need flexing.

In our proposal for MoMA’s Young Architecture Program we take the opportunity to further our exploration of architecture’s potential to create sensorially charged environments, rather than finite forms.  Especially in the case of envisioning a temporary structure for P.S.1’s courtyard, which needs to perform two seemingly contradictory tasks (calming and carousing), a worthy proposition would need to consider the choreography of situations rather than object making.

Offered is a participatory environment that reframes the conceptual relation between humankind and structure. It is an interconnected system, in reference the system, of poles and bungees whose equilibrium is constantly affected by human action and environmental factors, such as rain and wind. On discovery of its elasticity visitors engage with the structure, to envision games, test its limits or just watch it gently dance.

Deliberately indeterminate, the framework anticipates a dynamic atmosphere. There is no baseline or reboot. The process is an instant loop, with no end, no result. It is a delicate construct of transforming frames, offering an intensely uplifting experience. We hope that such an environment reengages the public with the physical realm, triggering increased awareness and care for one’s direct environment. We believe the pressing issues of “sustainability” are geopolitical and existential at once, and the answers we search lie within.

The system consists of a 16’ x 16’ grid of 30 feet tall poles. These poles are connected by bungee cords. Their movement is controlled by the elasticity of the cord. The grid accommodates a number of activators, such as hammocks, pulls and rain collectors. These leverage points are the interface between visitor and system. A local action allows a small transformation to ripple fully across the larger system. The gently swaying column broadcast these ripples over the courtyard walls into the city and the world beyond.

An open net covers the entire field and controls the maximum pivot of the poles. The net gives the space a sense of interiority and amplifies the effect of movement. It supports of a generous amount of multi-colored balls. The balls are used to calibrate the system, they offer shade, and give the overall structure the appearance of a game; a game of which the rules need invention. At two points the nets drops down to accommodate a pool and a sandpit. The horizontal roof plane takes on the 3rd dimension, but the form it creates remains a wireframe; a thin outline. This entire construct softly covers a landscape of hammocks, misters, pools and plants. A light, colorful environment in constant flux.

The result, a gently swaying acupuncture and a beacon for a softer footprint.

See also:


Sunnyside Up
by SO-IL
Public Farm One by Work
Architecture Company (2008)
Afterparty by MOS

Posted on Friday June 25th 2010 at 4:50 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • INawe

    the colors are a bit too 1980’s for me but at least the finished exhibit is better than last years shag carpeting monstrosity.

  • Boo

    I would love to see photos with a bunch of kids turned loose here!

  • panchowj

    Some shadows, yet no shading… This make less sense than N-Architects’ if it gets to what you really need during the summer at PS1…

  • recon::decon

    These PS1 installations lately are really lackluster. PS1 used to be about upcoming architects/designers pushing the limits of form and construction techniques and really making something experimental and precedent establishing. Sad.

  • tina

    Boo: I found some kids! check this video showing a crazy crowd on WSJ today


  • starchitect

    this may be the worst of them all….its too bad cause SO-IL seems to be a talented duo….

  • Gaston

    This is not architecture.

    • komrio

      What is architecture?

  • kk

    Went today and, while the balls and hammocks are fun, and I loved the misting feature, the near total lack of shade was completely impractical. It was in the mid 90s today and will be for much of the coming week…

    Also, I couldn’t get the poles to make a sound, as the sign indicated should be possible. What’s up with that?

    The farm installation is still my favorite…

  • mason

    PS1 is played out my friends! died almost 10 years ago…now every body wants to go there and act like it’s the newest-greatest club…forgetting all about the art/design, or lack of thanks to wanna-be curators and talentless artist.
    i’m not bitter, to each his own…just saying, the art, the space and the hype is no longer valid…