Resembling a shoal of giant neon jellyfish that has drifted in from the sea and become entangled in the palm trees on Miami Beach, Rachely Rotem and Phu Hoang’s Exhale pavilion ensnares visitors in seven miles of phosphorescent tentacles.
“It’s like two different installations: in the daytime it’s more about the structure, and at night it’s about the glowing ropes,” says Hoang.
Used as an outdoor space to host the night-time arts programme during the Art Basel Miami Beach fair, sensors monitor the speed of the wind and feed the information to the lights, which change colour according to the conditions. Steel rods on concrete bases support the ropes.
There are also smaller sensors at head height so the visitors can blow on the sensors and control the light in a confined area. “We wanted the installation to have an interactive element,” says Rotem. An array of hammocks continues this connection with the audience, and allows for a new vantage point to appreciate the work, which is the result of a competition held by New York-based arts charity Creative Time and Art Basel.
The installation was conceived as a temporary structure lasting the week of Art Basel Miami Beach. “But part of the idea is that all its components can be used again,” says Hoang. “The concrete bases will be sunk off Miami Beach to create an artificial reef,” says Rotem. The rope will be given to a non-profit organisation and the steel recycled.
There seems to be a trend for these flexible structures at the moment. Up the road at Design Miami the designer of the year Konstantin Grcic created an installation called Netscape, consisting of 24 swing seats made of polypropylene netting and fibreglass hung from a light steel structure. And earlier this year at Moma PS1’s summer pavilion Pole Dance was a structure of netting mounted on movable wind-sail joints.
Johanna Agerman Ross