Festival | Previous Editions

Safe Zone

Codes, regulations, and guidelines for the “protection of human health, safety and welfare” are what the built environment is all about. Eliminating risk of injury to the human body, and, perhaps more to the point, that of economic and legal consequences
have become the ground rules for those engaged in the design, production, and construction of public spaces.

Chris Reed uses an array of commercial products designed for potentially dangerous conditions and situations and turns them to whimsical uses. He invites visitors to explore the experiential qualities of, for example, rubber surfacing, which he forms into an undulating topography, an exterior rubber room that is at once comforting and playful but also somewhat destabilizing. He amplifies the rubber’s inherent characteristics, laying it so thick that one bounces across the surface, thus creating a playground for all ages.

The garden also has a sinister side, however. Allusions to the padded rooms of insane asylums come to mind, as well as surveillance techniques, protective devices, and contemporary society’s perception of omnipresent danger. The outline of yellow warning tiles that surrounds the garden takes on an ambiguous role, signalling either potential dangers within the garden or warning of possible threats in the wider landscape of the unregulated environment.

Architect: Stoss Landscape Urbanism Chris Reed, Chris Muskopf, Scott Bishop

Years of exhibition: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009

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