David Wilson’s Etherwave Architecture #1 is inspired by the social, political and spatial transformation of Randall’s Island Park from “dumping ground” for institutional uses into a lush park where citizens choose to spend leisure time. The structure mimics objects and materials normally associated with urban defensive architecture, such as wrought iron spiked guards and fences, subverting their original meaning and context by directly and specifically inviting interaction. The iron and steel elements in Etherwave Architecture #1 function as an engineered Theremin, acting as antennas that control sound oscillators. The sizes and shapes of the different elements allow approach from all around so that visitor movement, exploration and interaction directly produces a range of sounds. Through active engagement with these defensive structures, Wilson hopes to bring awareness to the dilemmas surrounding public spaces, while playfully appropriating objects that make up oppressive design practices. Our choice and contingency as citizens of New York is highlighted through interaction, symbolic reference, and material transformation.
Taking a 13' x 3' x 3' steel bench and inverting it vertically is fairly difficult without a lift or boom truck. In a battle against gravity we used wooden platforms and guides to move the top of the structure.... inch by inch, and placed, by hand and rope, to eventual success. Miguel, Rodrigo, Mike, and Debbie were essential in this process. A team with amazing ingenuity.
We broke ground on Thursday, and it could not have been done without the help of Debbie and her turf crew. They were amazing!
Friday was a whirlwind, 13 hour straight, beginning of the install that took us through every borough (except Staten Island) and up 11 flights.... down 11 flights..... many times to retrieve the pieces. And then hauled the 2000Lbs of metal/tools and 1400Lbs of concrete to the project site. Rodrigo and Joshua are great artists, and also great friends.
Still so much more to get to in the coming days.
This last week I had to troubleshoot interference issues with capacitance and the structure of the sculpture that serves as the antenna. The top of the sculpture had to be made of a different material than steel. So, a metal housing was built, removed and molded in many, many layers of silicone to create a detailed replica of the original. From there, the mold is removed in sections and then cast in solid urethane resin and reattached to the top of the hydrant guard sculpture. In the end, it will look little different than the original, but allow for less audio disruption. A lot of work.
I have also been collecting rocks from Randall's Island and molding them individually, these will be combined together to make a larger faux rock that will be a sculpture that covers the ground imbedded speakers.