John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
The Governors Island exhibit, which creates an “illusion of motion,” might also be the new best place to hang your shirts.
If you lock yourself out of your car this summer in Lower Manhattan, don’t worry. Just head on over to Governors Island, where you can pluck a jimmy-stick off a sculpture made from jillions of coat hangers.
The so-called “Hanger Barn”—which is still awaiting official approval and funding—will employ “used wire coat hangers sourced from dry cleaning facilities and other places of reuse around the city,” according to FIGMENT NYC, a volunteer art group that places interactive sculptures on the island each year. Its creators, Bosuk Hur and Youngsu Lee at the architectural-design firm Folio, say they want to use at least 21,456 hangers, which they’ll somehow recycle once the installation is taken down.
The judges who selected “Hanger Barn” were impressed by its focus on sustainability and interaction, says FIGMENT:
Folio’s proposal for the Hanger Barn turns recycled clothes hangers into a pavilion using modular design techniques. It also creates the illusion of motion due to the placement of the hangers in fractal patterns, which create shadow effects on the ground below that change with the movement of the sun. The modular design is composed of the hanger’s original triangle shape, rotated and paired with mirrored segments that connect with zip ties. The intention is for the materials to be reused after disassembly at various sites around New York City.
The [pavilion] is a gathering place for people to meet, learn about the arts programs on the island, enjoy a performance or lecture, and experience the interaction of art and the historic context of Governors Island.
The strange environmental vibe of the artwork fits in well with previous FIGMENT winners, which include a flowery, floating canopy of umbrellas, a “cloud” of empty plastic bottles, and a freakish conglomeration of bloated balloons called “Burble Bup,” which was deconstructed and turned into floating toys at public swimming pools.