The Connective Project / Prospect Park Alliance
Submitted By Suchi Reddy
The Connective Project is a collaborative public engagement project consisting of 7,000 sculpturally arranged pinwheels, many exhibiting artwork made by the public, onsite and through curated submissions, installed in the Rose Garden in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.
Designed in 1896 by the eminent team of Olmstead and Vaux, the garden was designed with three elliptical pools dotted with lily pads and flowers. In the first years of its life, Prospect Park’s Rose Garden served as a children’s playground, a well-manicured spot for outdoor weddings and a setting for displays of roses before the creation of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. In recent decades, the 2.5-acre plot had become overgrown and hard to find in a section of woods near the Vale of Cashmere, and the lily ponds were relegated to defunct concrete basins.
The project brief was to design and construct a temporary installation in which the public could submit and exhibit artwork in an area of the park that desperately needed visibility, simultaneously encouraging public engagement with the site. Responding to the design of the garden, the concept amplifies the elliptical architectural forms of the defunct pools by expanding their shapes outwards into the garden in undulating layers of scaled and repetitive objects: pinwheels. Precisely placed with geo-mapping technology, the 7,000 pinwheels made of weather resistant, printable and biodegradable paper composed of stone dust, surround the three concrete basins, transforming them into amphitheaters. Art generated by the public and accepted through a curation process designed by the project’s organizers was printed on some of the pinwheels, and others were decorated at on site workshops, all of them displayed at the perimeters of the pools to facilitate gallery style viewing and engagement.
We designated the basic unit of the installation to be the pinwheel because delight it generates in people of all ages, and because these items to illuminate the invisible natural force of the breezes in the park. In mounting them on mirror finish stainless steel stems, we strove to make the supports reflect the grass, “disappearing” into the surroundings allowing people to feel a sense of magic. The project was hugely popular, with the messages on the pinwheels ranging from beautiful graphics to slogans giving voice to the feelings of the community served by the park. At the conclusion of the project, the organizers of the event allowed the public to take away the pinwheels, and all of them were taken away into the surrounding boroughs to continue spreading their wonder in neighborhoods throughout the tri-borough area.
Prospect Park Alliance
Suchi Reddy, AIA, Founding Principal, Reddymade