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Web Exclusive: Full Circle

Canadian designers Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster collaborate on a public artwork project in Buffalo, N.Y.

March 31, 2017
by Canadian Architect

‘Full Circle’ by Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster, commissioned by CEPA Gallery and C.S.1 Curatorial Projects. Photo: Coryn Kempster

‘Full Circle’ by Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster, commissioned by CEPA Gallery and C.S.1 Curatorial Projects. Photo: Coryn Kempster

Full Circle by Canadian designers Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster is an interactive sculpture for all ages that playfully rotates the typical swing-set to alter and expand its experience.

Located in Buffalo, New York, Full Circle takes an element commonly found in parks and playgrounds – the swing-set – and by questioning its conventional linear arrangement, achieves a transformation that is abstract, spatial, political and interactive. The project stems from an interest in spaces of play, in the broadest definition of that term, as places that can be used to liberate the individual from the generic and enrich everyday experience.

‘Full Circle’ by Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster, commissioned by CEPA Gallery and C.S.1 Curatorial Projects. Photo: Alana Fajemisin

‘Full Circle’ by Julia Jamrozik and Coryn Kempster, commissioned by CEPA Gallery and C.S.1 Curatorial Projects. Photo: Alana Fajemisin

Starting with a familiar construct and transforming it, the installation twists the typical experience of a swing-set to provide opportunities for confrontation and dialogue through the positioning of individuals in relation to the work and each other. No longer partaking in parallel movement as on a typical swing-set, the users of Full Circle are invited to join a playful conversation.

Questioning the basic relationships between people in space, the project aims for a socially conscious and thereby political engagement. Further, by bringing a piece of playground equipment together with the charged spatial arrangement of political round-tables and corporate boardrooms, the installation takes a playful construct and positions it in the adult-world.

Aiming to create socially conscious dialogue, the project is positioned where diverse Buffalo communities intersect and is adjacent to International School #45 whose student body represents 70 countries and 44 languages. Full Circle was supported by a vigorous grassroots campaign to engage the teachers, parents, administrators, city council members, community activists, and neighbours to take active ownership of this work of art. Nestled in a typical West Side empty lot and taking the elements of a swing-set as a starting point, Full Circle twists the reference to become an abstracted and engaging interactive installation.

The project was selected through an open competition and commissioned by CEPA Gallery and C.S.1 Curatorial Projects for CEPA’s West Side Lots Project, a series of six temporary site-specific public art commissions that transform vacant lots – remnants of what was once urban blight on Buffalo’s West Side – into vibrant, engaging, and interactive public displays. The project was installed in Buffalo at the end of October 2016 and will be open to the public for at least one year.