VIDEO: Pole Dance at MoMA PS1 by SO – IL, New York 2010


In their winning design for the MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program SO – IL  took the opportunity to further contemporary explorations of sensory-charged environments, rather than finite forms. Especially considering the unique requirements of the temporary structure for the PS1 courtyard, needing to perform two seemingly contradictory tasks—calming and carousing, a worthy proposition needed to consider the choreography of situations rather than object-making.

SO – IL designed a participatory environment that reframed the conceptual relation between people and structure. Composed of an interconnected system of poles, netting, and elastic bungee, its equilibrium was constantly challenged by both human action and environmental factors, such as rain and wind. Discovering its elasticity, visitors engaged with the structure to invent games, test its limits, and watch it gently dance. The authors goal was that such an environment re-engaged the public with the physical, triggering increased awareness and consciousness of our environment and surroundings.

The small courtyard adjacent to the main space holded an immersive, interactive installation where visitors could create and control a rich sound experience by moving and shaking the poles. Eight poles contained accelerometers—electronic devices that measure the motion of the poles. Connected to custom software, the system converted motion into tones specifically designed for the installation, allowing visitors to compose sounds with their movement and play. The entire system was assembled from ready-made materials. The details allowed for the system to be broken down without material degradation and most components had been repurposed since the installation was closed.

SO – IL was featured in –NESS 1 Documents section. Includes an amazing conversation between Jing Liu, Ilias Papageorgiou, and Florencia Rodriguez and the graphic development of part of the office’s most interesting works.

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