Art in Public Space
Our most recent workshop was held in the open air on the rooftop of Thaillywood Art space in Thailand. Over two afternoons in September, as the sun began to set, children from Chomburi Province were charged with the task of transforming Thaillywood’s rooftop gold dome, into their very own public art installation. The workshop brought the idea of art in public spaces into their world. Imaginations ran wild through having freedom to create anything in the space – regardless of scope or budget. The children had the practical lesson that as an artist you have to be able to sketch and communicate your ideas, to bring them to life.
Using famous examples of global public art – from commissioned works by Anish Kapoor, to some of Banksy’s illegal street art, and architectural pieces such as Christo’s Wrapped Reichstag in Berlin (1995) – as inspiration, the children sat with the dome, their pencils and paper, and as always, the ideas came to life. Connections between building and sky were made, and planetary themes dominated. From Tong’s giant flying turtle to Jeep’s portal to the universe, the dome became an opportunity to transcend, and the children the travellers.
Idea: Transform the gold dome into a giant turtle. Install two wings made from concrete, one wing would be coloured green and the other wing coloured purple. There would then also be another tiny turtle standing on top of the giant turtle.
Tong’s idea brings a poetic feeling to the artwork. The wings bring motion to the piece, as if the turtle had landed on the rooftop, and could take flight again at any moment. The use of the gold shape as base for the body of something, shows the many different meanings that form can present to the individual. We especially loved the idea of adding an upside-down turtle on the top of the tiny turtle, to add a sense of fun to the piece.
Idea: Bringing the outside in and the inside out. First the top of the gold dome would be opened up and glass installed. A door would then be created to connect the space between the inside and the outside of the dome. To further break up the space, a second floor would be built inside the dome, and a staircase put in to connect the two floors. The first floor, with a glass roof to the sky would be illuminated only by natural light, existing as a darker space than the floor below, to better create a connection from inside to the outside space.
Idea: To decorate a gold dome with many light bulb ‘stars’. Installing a spotlight would also make the dome shine even more. The dome’s stars are metaphors of light, and the half circle shape of the dome becomes an image of the earth, surrounded by starlight. An extension of this idea might be to paint the floor below with stars – 3D stars might also be interesting. This would add depth to the overall work by creating an experience of an ocean of starlight above and below the viewer.
Idea: To create a half circle shape made of glass to cover the gold dome, an image of the universe would then be drawn onto the glass, so it could be viewed from below. The experience is deepened by installing a telescope inside the gold dome, then the top of the dome would be removed to see the sky. In the space between the gold dome and the glass, there’s room for a table and chair. Anyone who wants to can sit and draw there, with the universe above them. By sitting inside the dome, with the universe painting above, and the actual universe beyond, the viewer gets the feeling of being in the centre of the universe. To extend on this by being able to use the telescope to look outside to the actual universe, the viewer can have the experience of space and time that is never ending.