The Pipes, designed in collaboration with Shohei Shigematsu of OMA, comprises 11 tower-like sculptures for reflection and sonic performance
The Pipes, a project by American artist Taryn Simon created in collaboration with Shohei Shigematsu of OMA, has been installed in the ground of The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA) in North Adams, USA.
Comprising 11 tower-like cylindrical structures inspired by wells, the work is an adaptation of what initially began as an ‘oversized concrete instrument’ for use in Simon’s 2016 project An Occupation of Loss, which explored professional mourning and the sonic rituals of mourners across various cultures. In a monumental installation at the Park Avenue Armory in New York, the pipes (each measuring 13.7m in height) were occupied and activated by both professional mourners and the larger public.
At Mass MoCA, the modular structures – comprised of stacked, industrial concrete rings designed to amplify and reverberate sound waves – have been reduced in size to 6.7m and specially adapted for the new context by Simon and Shigematsu.
Intended as an immersive experience for visitors, the concrete spaces – which include ledges to sit on and are open to the sky – can be used for quiet reflection or even impromptu performance. People are invited to fill the pipes with the sounds of their own instruments or vocals; local school and community groups and musicians-in-residence will be welcomed to use the space during festivals and throughout the year.
On long-term view, the installation joins an array of other outdoor artworks sited throughout the museum’s campus, including works by Jenny Holzer and James Turrell.
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