Historically Randall’s Island in New York has been the site of many ground breaking social events. One of particular interest is the Carnival of Swing (1938). This event brought together jazz legends such as Count Basie and Duke Ellington to celebrate and honor the music of composer George Gershwin. I found archival footage of the concerts showing a crowd of over 20,000 jazz lovers from many different ethnic backgrounds, a rare occurrence for that time in American history. It is a testament to the power of music and its ability to bring people together.
Looping Back is a 20-foot diameter undulating toroidal form made from reclaimed poplar bark shingles; it represents the shape of jazz and the aesthetics of improvisation. Looping Back’s circular shape encourages people to either walk around it, pass through it, or sit on it. It creates a space where a variety of activities can take place – including meditation, reading, listening to music and socializing.
Looping Back was created using computer aided design to approximates the ideal orientation of the flat bark shingles around a complex geometry. This geometry was influenced by the bridges and octagonal concrete support structures that span Randall’s Island. The toroidal shape is made of 21 sections; each one having a unique wooden skeleton that the shingles are subsequently attached to. Some of these sections are identical in form; other sections, like jazz improvisation, vary in shape and complexity.
Looping Back was commissioned by The Randall’s Island Park Alliance, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, and Made Events as part of FLOW 2013 on Randall's Island Park in New York. You can learn more about the project by visiting this site: >>>