PVC pipes, bamboo, Tyvek AgBags, dirt and steel — these are the simple building blocks for the sculptures now at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, but they all have big theoretical back stories.
The exhibition Civic Action, which will live in the park until Aug. 5, sees five artists imagining an environmentally friendly vision for the booming northern industrial section of LIC. The park has waterfront with views of Roosevelt Island and a rotating menu of installations and community events.
Although thick with research, the exhibit isn’t just some extension of a lecture, nor does it detract from a park’s core value of offering a place for people to enjoy nature and relax.
“It’s really cool. Kids can run around and enjoy the trees and the sunshine. There are not a lot of places to do that,” Alia Smith, 12, said at the park on June 7.
The educational value of Civic Action enhances the visually cool and fun pieces that dot the park.
For the sculpture series Natalie Jeremijenko hoisted a yellow, metal tree house into the fork of a poplar tree. The house can be fun for those imaginative folks wishing they were part of the Swiss Family Robinson or for work-a-holics.
Actually, TREExOFFICE, which is outfitted with WiFi, tries to reinvent work habits — instead of sitting in a cubicle typing, the artist implores people to give their laptop some fresh air. Individuals can book office time with the tree, also the landlord according to the plaque, by visiting environmental healthclinic.net/civicaction/treexoffice.
Jeremijenko also created a way for city dwellers to have a full edible garden hanging from their windows. She connected several Tyvek AgBags to create vertical farming units. The installation is not only a good idea for apartments, but the towering structure built to show off the bags is impressive even if viewers don’t stop to read more about the unique farming idea.
Moving on, a line of red and white poles, put together by artist Mary Miss, swerve through the middle of the park marking where Sunswick Creek once flowed. The creek now runs under the city’s streets.
To the left of the start of the swerving poles lies a cross of lush grass — much healthier and fuller than the lawn in the rest of the park. Jeremijenko added compost, grass seeds and Biochar, a byproduct of energy production that aids carbon sequestration and plant growth, to the cross to help its explosion of productivity.
George Trakas’ project allows park-goers to step down several sloping steps right to the water’s edge.
Rirkrit Tiravanija created an outdoor eating space equipped with a sink. Area restaurants will offer up their tasty treats in the outdoor space during the park’s weekly Wednesday film nights from July 4 to Aug. 22 at 7 p.m.
There will also be a food spread in Tiravanija’s structure following Socrates’ Summer Solstice Celebration on June 20 from 5 p.m. to dusk. The celebrants can also check out Natalie Jeremijenko’s X Fitness Hula Hoops, which scatter seeds while they spin.
To create these sculptures artists headed teams of historians, architects, scientists, writers, ecologists and urban planners. Models and drawings of their proposed vision were showcased at The Noguchi Museum from Oct. 13, 2011 through April 22.
When: Until Aug. 5, 10 a.m. to dusk
Where: Socrates Sculpture Park, 32-05 Vernon Blvd., LIC
Tickets: Free, (718) 956-1819