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Points of Contact is an installation of Design in the Parks, and will be visible in Lake Union Park starting on August 10th.
Points of Contact is a site specific installation that engages with the existing pedestrian bridge in South Lake Union park to rebalance people’s attention to the experience of personal contact a bridge of this scale offers that often goes unnoticed in today’s busy, phone-centric lives.
The pedestrian bridge at South Lake Union park is narrow enough that two people passing each other come closer together in a singular, isolated moment than they might in other parts of the city. The nature of the bridge isolates that experience in a unique way as it constrains pedestrians’ movement options. However our increased connection with our pocket technologies has allowed us to tune out such moments of human connection. Part of rebalancing ourselves for our current environment is learning how to pull away from the many daily distractions and re-engage with our larger community. This could be as simple as making eye contact when passing someone on the bridge and sharing that moment that feels like you are together suspended over the water.
Points of Contact seeks to amplify this experience of connection by heightening the sense of enclosure and bringing attention to the shift in environment offered by the bridge. By reinterpreting the space of the bridge, we hope that people who walk along it as part of their daily routine, often absorbed in their own thoughts or phones, will be snapped out of that routine and notice the people with whom they are sharing moments of contact. The installation creates a new sense of space through a series of alternating polycarbonate partial arcs attached at one point along the base of the bridge and balanced across it. The different spatial relationships between the bridge structure and the installation elements along the length of the bridge will create a range of experiences for pedestrians, some more open, others more enclosed. Each installation element will have two additional aspects that would serve to capture and refocus people’s attention: a mechanical sound component similar to a wind chime and a light component that would allow the installation to shift from daytime to nighttime. The sound piece will add an unexpected sensory experience to the spatial one during the day. At night, lights inside the tubes will provide the additional sensory experience and add to the spatial definition of the bridge, which is normally quite dark at night.
The sound element will respond to the environmental conditions, triggered by wind at the site and bridge vibration. Creating a heightened sensory experience will increase the sense of connection between the people sharing momentary passing on the bridge. The light element will be triggered by people’s presence on the bridge, alerting pedestrians of each other and bringing attention to the experience of human contact on the bridge.