I'm tempted to soar off on a philosophical tangent or two right now, but I shall refrain and leave that to you. I will say that the Southbank is one of the most successful and pleasurable urban areas in the world and a boon to both the economy, and, well-being. Why? The answer is in the sculpture and the skate park and the street furniture. It is interactive non-commerce. But the commerce side profits from that.
Sunday, 12 July 2009
The economics of pure abandon
"Appearing Rooms", an interactive sculpture by Jeppe Hein is in its third or fourth year of residence on London's Southbank. A minimal maximal, it is a grid of fountains with walls of water that appear and disappear. In you go, across, hop, run, wet. Or not. If you remain outside, as a viewer, the people inside become the sculpture as they navigate and dare to be wet or not. Yesterday there was a party of girls celebrating a sweet sixteen. Dripping wet happy devil-may-care everything one could imagine doing was accompanied by girly screams of delight. It seemed an exhibitionist's dream until I went inside the sculpture. If you go inside, the people outside do not matter to you. At all. Inside, you can stay in a grid with a friend, or, dare to leap to the next square, together, or, apart. You can walk through a wall of water, or, wait for the wall to disappear, and, stay dry. Trapped alone, trapped with friends, trapped with strangers - it all happens. It is an exercise in risk-taking, or, pure abandon.