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.

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.

No comments: