Ann Hamilton: The Event of a Thread at the Park Avenue Armory

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Artist Ann Hamilton has an installation at the Park Avenue Armory that’s basically a giant interactive indoor playground. Swings? Check. Benches? Check. Pigeons? Check.

Right outside the doors of the 55,000 square feet Drill Hall, get a $12 admission ticket and enter the playground.


First thing you see is the giant white curtain in the middle of the room and two people seated at a table.


Check out the walls to your left and right, where you can grab a newspaper created for the installation. Pages and pages of blurred images. Huh.


Text is read from a long sheets of paper. They read some lines at the same time and after a while, just sound like murmurs, so in a way, their voices create a soundtrack to the experience. Pigeons in wooden cages sit quietly around them.


There are 42 swings in total and can fit two people. You’re not permitted to stand on the swings and you can only swing back and forth only. Make sure you hold on to the chains while swinging!


As you swing, the giant white curtain in the middle of the room moves up and down. When you look up from your seat, follow the lines from the wires connected to your swing to see which part of the curtain you’re moving. The more you swing back and forth, the more the curtain will undulate and move up and down.


It’s fun. I sat down on a swing and watched the curtain move as I went back and forth. It’s also a bit meditative to watch the curtain while moving gently back and forth with the murmur of the readers voices floating in the air. (By the way, there are radios in paper bags placed all around the space that transmit the readings. You can move these around the room.)

Lay down right under the curtain to get another viewpoint.


At the other end of the hall, there is this note above. If you want to hear the singer, you need to be there when they open, or 20 minutes before they close.

INFO: Ann Hamilton: the event of a thread | Park Avenue Armory | 643 Park Avenue btw 66th St. & 67th St. | New York, NY 0065 | 212.616.3930
NOTES: Installation ends on January 6, 2013. Closed Mondays.

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