By Anna Norris
Flux Projects, an organization that promotes temporary public art, has chosen this summer’s Freedom Park Project: SEAT. SEAT, an interactive architectural design, was envisioned by architects Brian Brush and Yong Ju Lee.
Brush and Lee are partners in the design collaboration E/B Office based out of New York and Portland.
SEAT is a garden pavilion composed of nothing but wooden chairs. The design includes about 400 chairs that will be connected in the form of a sine wave arch. It was chosen by Flux Projects along with the Freedom Park Conservancy from 89 entries.
Visitors to Freedom Park will not be limited to simply looking at SEAT. They can actually sit on the chairs or even in the shade beneath them.
Brush says that SEAT was inspired by a desire to question what we take for granted, taking something as simple as a chair and turning into a complex architectural work.
“Many of our projects attempt to question the encoding and representation of information in the built environment,” says Brush.
“It’s less about communicating information, and more about changing the perception of domestic objects through their use as architectural units and components,” says Brush. “It’s a repurposing of an object through the manipulation of its informational identity.”
Brush says that constructing SEAT will be a rigorous process.
“A high degree of organization will be key as each chair will be custom-connected to another,” says Brush. He says there will be about 1600 such connections.
Anne Dennington, the executive director of Flux Projects, said that the artists and volunteers will begin construction on SEAT in mid-July. The construction process that will take anywhere from one week to 10 days, in an area of Freedom Park that will be visible from Moreland Avenue and Freedom Parkway. The project is expected to be in the park until mid-September.
Dennington says that “high visibility” and “great impact” were two main components in selecting the Freedom Park Project concept. She says that the two people who sat on the selection committee from the Freedom Park Conservancy wanted a piece that would pull people into the park. Other judging criteria included art that incorporated artistic merit, feasibility and safety for the audience.
“Even though Brian and Yong Lee are architects, they are also actively doing public art projects, so they are designers as well,” says Dennington. “That was a really good blend for this. Their practice gave us a lot of confidence that they were going to be able to do this, and do it safely.”
Dennington says that the fact that that SEAT would bring amenities to the park was also appealing.
“Their project managed to combine something that was visually compelling with something that was interesting to use,” says Dennington.
Dennington says that while Flux Projects started broadly with no set location, it has narrowed into in-town Atlanta neighborhoods in such a way that people have come to expect yearly projects from the organization.
Dennington says that Flux’s main goal is for citizens of Atlanta to begin to call for more art in their city.
“When we’ll really turn that corner is when people that don’t consider themselves arts patrons, just people who live in Atlanta, are paying attention to the arts as part of their daily life,” she says.
Flux Projects worked with the Freedom Park Conservancy to select the artwork that replaces last year’s “ladder project,” Rise Up Atlanta, which was created by Charlie Brouwer.
Flux Projects, founded by Louis Corrigan, works with artists in order to provide Atlanta with public art.
“The organization started with the goal of bringing more opportunities for our artists,” says Dennington. “We quickly realized that we can provide funding to artists but equally important was getting an audience for their work.”
Flux Projects hosts one major event a year, FLUX, which invites artists from all backgrounds, visual arts to performance arts, to submit proposals for the event, which takes place in the vacant spaces of the Castleberry Hill Arts District. This year, the event will take place on Oct. 6 from 8 p.m. until midnight. Last year, Flux and Georgia State provided a free shuttle to FLUX. Dennington plans to offer this service this year, as well.