Main Street Bridge to be Wrapped in Yarn?

February 11, 2010 at 12:02 am Leave a comment


Sorry, I had to get that out of the way. Really? Like really, really? Come on now – how boring can Cambridge get that we have to resort to wrapping a downtown bridge in yarn? I’m sure there are a million other wickedly cool ideas for temporary art installations. Won’t it get dirty? haha – harhar.

Last week, Cambridge announced Sturdy was chosen as the city’s 2010 artist in residence. Her big project for the year is organizing a knitting brigade to wrap the historic bridge in yarn to honour Cambridge’s textile history. The bridge will be covered in September for a month. When it’s removed, the knitted panels will be washed and turned into scarves and blankets for distribution to community agencies.

Sure that stuff is all fine and dandy, helping the less fortunate with scarves and blankets; but can’t we recognize the future instead of clinging to our past? Perhaps we could imagine installing art pieces all throughout the city?!?  Something on a larger scale, and one that will capture peoples’ imaginations.

How about we look at some neat temporary art installations from North America, Europe, and beyond? I’ll take you on a small photo journey to get your artistic ideas pumping.

The first art exhibit I’m going to show you was installed in New York City’s Central Park in 2005 and was entitled, The Gates.

This piece of public art is a site-specific work of art by Christo and Jeanne-Claude. The artists installed 7,503 vinyl “gates” along 23 miles (37 km) of pathways in Central Park in New York City. From each gate hung a panel of deep saffron-colored nylon fabric. The exhibit ran from February 12, 2005 through February 27, 2005.The Gates are similar to the tradition of Japanese Torii gates, traditionally constructed at the entrance to Shinto shrines.

The next example is one that could be easily implemented in Cambridge, running along the Grand River. The Water Dance created by artist Anne Neil and it consists of 8 large cones and 16 equally large poles arranged to lean at various angles, touching the ground in such a way as to describe the motion of raindrops landing upon the earth. Neil and her team of artists have explained the cones as an attempt to mimic the shape of hands cupped together in an attempt to catch a raindrop.

The Water Dance

The poles are abstracted replications of the poles used to measure and mark water depth. Constructed of marine quality aluminum, the interior surface of each of the cones is painted a blue tone visible to the viewer through undulating cutouts on the face of the cones. At night, solar powered bulbs turn on, illuminating the artwork with a changing sequence of watery-hued light.

How about an art installation from our sister city, Cambridge, UK? In Cambridge, they have developed an ongoing art project to celebrate Cambridge’s 800th birthday. The finale piece was entitled, “Transforming Tomorrow.”

Projected onto 2 sites, Senate House and the adjacent Old School, and the end of Kings College Chapel and the next door Gibbs Building, a combination of PIGI and video projection technologies supplied by E/T/C London were utilised in 3 separate but related animated shows. These expressed elements of the University’s dynamic science and research programmes as art in breath-taking large format scrolling images.

And finally, one that is happening in Canada currently, and built to coincide with the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, is the Vectorial Elevation.

Starting at dusk on February 4, 2010, 20 robotic searchlights will create a quiet canopy of light in the night sky above and on the sparkling surface of English Bay below with designs created by people around the world and delivered via the Internet. Called Vectorial Elevation, it is the first time the internationally celebrated work of art will be displayed in Canada and over a body of water.

The 10,000-watt lights will move and create patterns silently from locations in Vanier Park and Sunset Beach that cover an area of 100,000 square metres and be visible within 15 kilometres of the city’s downtown core, stretching to Richmond, the peaks of Cypress and Grouse mountains and freighters and boats on the water.

This large-scale temporary public art installation is co-commissioned by the City of Vancouver’s Olympic and Paralympic Public Art Program and Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad, presented by Bell, with support from the Province of Quebec. The installation — considered one of the world’s largest interactive artworks — is by Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and is part of CODE, the Cultural Olympiad’s Digital Edition.

Perhaps someday, perhaps…

“Experience has demonstrated that design teams should include representatives from local communities, businesses and artists in order to enrich the process and the quality of the development.” – The Essex Design Initiative



Entry filed under: Cambridge, Waterloo Region. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

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We are an urban design blog featuring news stories and ideas from London, Waterloo Region, and surrounding areas.


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