Inspire / Interactive Performance Art: "the event of a thread” by Ann Hamilton
Visual artist Ann Hamilton combines the ephemeral presence of time with the material tactility for which she is best known to create a new large-scale installation for the Wade Thompson Drill Hall. Commissioned by the Armory, the event of a thread references the building’s architecture, as well as the individual encounters and congregational gatherings that have animated its rich social history. A multisensory affair, the work draws together readings, sound, and live events within a field of swings that together invite visitors to connect to the action of each other and the work itself, illuminating the experience of the singular and collective body, the relationship between the animal and the human. The address of the readers to the pigeons shifts at the end of each day, when a vocalist on the drill hall’s balcony serenades their release to flight. Each day’s song is cut with a record lathe, and the resulting recording is played back the next day. – Park Avenue Armory
"I can remember the feeling of swinging—how hard we would work for those split seconds, flung at furthest extension, just before the inevitable downward and backward pull, when we felt momentarily free of gravity, a little hiccup of suspension when our hands loosened on the chain and our torsos raised off the seat. We were sailing, so inside the motion—time stopped—and then suddenly rushed again toward us. We would line up on the playground and try to touch the sky, alone together.
Suspended in the liquidity of words, reading also sets us in motion. We fall between a book’s open covers, into the texture of the paper and the regularity of the line. The rhythm and breath of someone reading out loud takes us to a world far away. As a child, I could spend hours pressed against the warmth of my grandmother’s body listening to her read, the rustling of her hand turning the page, watching the birds and the weather outside, transported by the intimacy of a shared side by side.
If on a swing, we are alone, we are together in a field. This condition of the social is the event of a thread. Our crossings with its motions, sounds, and textures is its weaving; is a social act.”
— Ann Hamilton