During the day on Christmas Eve, we went to the Park Avenue Armory to see Ann Hamilton’s the event of a thread (which, unfortunately, closed earlier this month), that giant swing exhibition that was making the buzz/blog/news rounds during the last couple of months.
From the exhibition’s website, which will do a much better job than I of describing it:
Visual artist Ann Hamilton combines the ephemeral presence of time with the material tactility for which she is best known to create a new large-scale installation for the Wade Thompson Drill Hall. Commissioned by the Armory, the event of a thread references the building’s architecture, as well as the individual encounters and congregational gatherings that have animated its rich social history. 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 relationship between the animal and the human. The address of the readers to the pigeons shifts at the end of each day, when a vocalist on the drill hall’s balcony serenades their release to flight. Each day’s song is cut with a record lathe, and the resulting recording is played back the next day.
For those unfamiliar with the Park Avenue Armory, it is gigantic, taking up an entire city block. (In the summer of 2011, the Royal Shakespeare Company brought over a full-scale replica of its theatre during its six-week residency at the Armory. It’s that big.) the event of a thread took up the entire Drill Hall. Giant swings were connected by a series of wires to a — you guessed it — giant white curtain in the middle of the space. As people swung, the curtain moved. In addition to trying out the swings, I also joined a number of other visitors lying on the floor underneath the sheet, watching it move up and down and side to side. There were also men and women writing and making recordings, in addition to a number of homing pigeons. The review in The New York Times includes more information about this element of the exhibition.
Here’s a very short video I shot with my phone while lying under the curtain:
Photos and video by Taking of Toast