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Sunday, 9 June 2013

the timelessness of play....

Ann Hamilton. The Event of a Thread. December 2012.

If this is fibre art, then it's fibre art on a colossal scale.

More importantly, Ann Hamilton's The Event of a Thread is a work about play; about the purity of play, the innocence and the ecstasy of that moment of almost-flight that you have when you swing, that moment when your whole body is just hanging by a "thread." When you are almost weightless, flesh and bones reduced to pure joy.

The artist says: 

“I can remember the feeling of swinging,” ... “how hard we would work for those split seconds … when we felt momentarily free of gravity, a little hiccup of suspension when our hands loosened on the chain and our torsos raised off the seat. We were sailing, so inside the motion — time stopped — and then suddenly rushed again toward us. We would line up on the playground and try to touch the sky, alone together.”

Ann Hamilton. The Event of a Thread. 2012

Reviewer Jason Andrew describes this complex work.

"At its core, the installation features two fields of suspended swings connected via ropes and pulleys to each other and to a massive white curtain that bisects the 55,000-square-foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall. Each swing has its counterpart on the other side and it is the visitor’s momentum on the swing that activates a rolling undulation of the curtain. The resultant movement brought on by one swing is enhanced when another visitor engages the corresponding swing on the opposite side. The movement of the curtain alone is mesmerizing and the beauty is that the curtain remains in a continual state of flux set in motion by the interaction of visitors."

Ann Hamilton. The Event of a Thread. 2012

Playful viewers laid down on the floor underneath the curtain to watch it move, like you would watch the curtains over your bed billow on a summer afternoon. Like you would lie down on the grass to watch the clouds. Like you would look for pictures in the stars.

It reminds me of a time when I laid down on the cold hard pavers inside one of the courtyards at the Louvre and looked at the stars as I listened to a lone violinist play. (Music resonating off of stone, time in conversation with the timeless.)

The timelessness of play.

See for a more complete description and an eloquent explanation of The Event of a Thread.

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