The Chamber of Rebirth was one of those seeds of an idea that ended up turning into something grand.
It began with Toby getting really excited about making a tent out of this beautiful rose fabric he found. It was pretty, and aesthetically interesting, but we wanted to push it further.
The thing about art is that it’s purpose is to make people think. Either by putting people in a space that changes their energy, having something visually engaging that starts a dialogue, or having them perform an action that will make them question something, all good art needs to provide something that makes people take a second to reassess the world around them.
Aesthetics is a part of art. Making something pretty does engage people. But something pretty doesn’t often lead to the step that art is really aiming for, which is to make people think differently about something.
Archimedes domes aren’t just about making pretty spaces. They do make pretty spaces, it’s a fact we push for and love about these domes. But we also want these domes to be taken further, into a space where we help life become more interesting, meaningful, and connected for our participants.
Because of that, we started playing around with what we could do to take a pretty rose tent and make it into something that would have a larger dialogue around it. And we did it by changing just one small thing- the opening.
Art often surprises me in that sometimes it only takes just one tiny thing, one small consideration, to turn it from a passive aesthetic object, into an active engaging space with a commentary. In art this is often called the “push-pull” phenomenon. If you take an object that reads one way, and you pair it with something that’s its opposite, it creates a feeling of tension or interest, which adds dialogue.
In this case, we took a pretty, aesthetically pleasing rose tent and paired it with the dialogue of the female body. Suddenly, we went from having just a pretty tent, to having an art piece that was engaging, interesting, funny, subtle, and stirred a whole lot of conversation.
I couldn’t believe what a hit this tent was. Just by changing the entrance we had people gathered around this tent all day. The kids loved jumping in and out of the opening, and the parents and adults found the subtle commentary around it absolutely hilarious.
At one point the kids where playing in the tent too roughly, and Toby lifted up the door flap so that he could handle the kids inside better. He left the door open, and as soon as the entryway was gone, so was the crowd. Just that one difference made the dome go from completely engaging to unused space.
This piece was a huge testament to how simple things can be to make an engaging art piece. Just by changing one aspect we were able to create something with humour and dialogue.
If you were to change just one thing about a dome to make it into art, what would it be?