The lovely Lissa (of Girl At The Rock Show) who you might have heard of once or twice before, passed on a guest list space for the press launch of Polyphonic Playground at House of Vans because she was unable to go last minute. Not one to turn down an interesting event, I thought I would head down on this particularly windy/rainy evening, to see what it was all about!
The Polyphonic Playground is “inspired by the inherent joy of using playgrounds at a child”. It’s an interactive sound installation by Studio PSK, it was originally commissioned by the Fashion Space Gallery, London College of Fashion, in collaboration with musician Reeps One – who, funnily enough, you can see in the background of one of the picture below with a black hat on. At the moment the structure is hosted in the gallery tunnel at House of Vans, London!
The wooden climbing frame type structure has all of the elements of a kids playground – swings, slides and stuff to climb on. Combine this with some fancy shmancy musical engineering (custom electronics, woven electronic textile and conductive paint), it created weird and wonderful noises when you put pressure on different parts of the frame/use the slide/hang on the swings. It’s essentially a giant musical instrument! Pretty weird really, but worth a quick visit if you’re in the area!
Not only is there a little film about the Polyphonic Playground with some headphones plugged in (although in the noisy tunnel it was pretty difficult to hear), there’s also scheduled “performances” in the playground from a range of musicians (from acoustic, to ambient & electronic to experimental). The musicians will explore the ways that the timber frame can be “played” and manipulated as though it was an actual instrument, in a sort of open rehearsal/mini performance environment with members of the public watching throughout the duration of the exhibition. Sadly because I went down quite late in the evening, I didn’t manage to catch any of these rehearsals!
House of Vans is located super near Waterloo station and Polyphonic Playground is free to visit! This installation is open until 21st February, so there’s still plenty of time to pop down. They often have other fun events too, including film screenings and skateboarding lessons, as well as having a full bar if you just fancy going down for a drink, whilst watching some skateboarders do their thing, and listening to the resident DJ.
Have any of you been down to House of Vans before? I love how they use the space for different purposes (I’ve been once before for a gig!) – it was really interesting to see something a little unusual like this.
That’s all for now,
All pictures my own unless otherwise stated.
P.s. Check out this awesome video ft. Reeps One which explains how it all works!