Headed out to Playground festival to create an art installation for this tiny but fun festival. Way out in the middle of crown land in Ontario, this installation was full of surprises, but ultimately extremely successful.

Artist Kevin Flynn and I arrived on the land several days beforehand to set up. The land was beautiful. Peaceful with an incredible view. It was backed right on to a river, with the full festival grounds overlooking the wilderness. 

Setting up the structure of the dome went quickly and easily. Always a simple setup, these domes go up in no time at all. 

The intention of the dome was to become a full art installation that would house artist Ryan Longo’s sculptures and create a space where he could connect with the public about the pieces he was working on. 

Unfortunately, everything that we needed to make the art installation was in a truck that was coming from Toronto with Ryan’s sculptures. As we patiently waited by the set up but empty dome, the team coming from Toronto encountered loading issues and multiple mechanical failures on two separate vehicles. 

Although the Playground land was not a bad place to be for a few extra days, it did mean that we would be setting up our installations while the festival was open to the public. Not ideal, but life could be worse. 

Two days later when the truck finally arrived, the first priority was to set up Ryan’s large scale sculpture Reactor

Reactor is a 15’ tall metal welded sculpture that Ryan is planning to bring out to Burning Man this year. Described as "alien vegetation carved from industrial materials," Reactor would have its first testing ground at Playground. The festival would be the first time this sculpture would be put together and installed in a public place. These small festivals are ideal for testing what could go wrong, and what to do better before bringing it out to a major festival like Burning Man.

The sculpture went together smoothly. All of the bad luck seemed to have been used up on transporting the sculpture out to the site. The sculpture was stable and beautiful, with no mishaps during installation. 

The full dome art installation would have to wait until the next day. Relieved that our stuff finally arrived, we would be prepped and ready to do it as quickly as possible so that the dome could be open to the participants on Saturday night. 

 Article by  Jodi Sharp

Article by Jodi Sharp

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