Los Trompos (Spinning Tops), Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena, High Museum Atlanta, 2015

It is so exciting to see the increasing focus of museums and public spaces on play…I’ll be featuring several today.  Following on last year’s successful installation of Mi Casa Su Casa–an array of red hammock houses–Atlanta’s High Museum commissioned the same artists for a gorgeous new installation of interactive spinning tops.  Contemporary Mexican designers Héctor Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena used flat nylon rope woven in a traditional Mexican style to make the carousels, which visitors can work together to spin.  The High Museum is using the best possible medium–play– to “activate the outdoor space and engage visitors” and “explore how engagement with art and design can extend beyond the museum’s walls through dynamic installations”.  It has been an huge success…so much so that there are plans to expand the installation into seven locations in Midtown Atlanta.

In a lecture I gave last year at Site Gallery I talked about “Play without Ground“…what it looks like to break  ‘play’ away from a real-estate based definition of *where* play is allowed to happen, to broaden the word playground to include more locations and also more timescales–ranging from ephemeral to permanent.  Museums and other public urban spaces are really leading the way in making ‘playground’ mean an event, an action, a happening, even a lifestyle–so much more than just a place.   And that is great progress for play!

Leave a Reply