Kinetic-Connections

Submitted by Elayna Toby Singer

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Client: City of Boynton Beach Art in Public Places

Location: Boytnon Beach, FL, United States

Completion date: 2015

Artwork budget: $18,000

Project Team

Artist

Elayna Toby Singer

Elayna Toby Art

Public Art Agent

Debby Coles-Dobay

City of Boynton Beach Art in Public Places

Other

Jennifer O-Brien

Resource Depot

Overview

Commissioned by City of Boynton Beach Art in Public Places as part of their International Kinetic Art Exhibit & Symposium, “Kinetic-Connections” transformed a majestic old tree into a kinetic sculpture with up-cycled objects from the community.

This site specific temporary art intervention, composed of forty-three sixteen foot long twirling strands with a total of 2500 objects, was suspended from three twenty foot long branches in 90 year old Kapok tree.

Through design workshops, video selfie stories of stuff, county wide up-cycle drop boxes and stringing bees, nearly 200 members of the public participated in making this community creation.

Goals

Elayna Toby conceived of "Kinetic-Connections" to encourage everyone to awaken their inner artist, re-imagine everyday objects as art, engage in creating kinetic art together, and bring renewed attention to a forgotten tree that for many years in the Boynton Beach's early history was an important landmark and place for community gathering.

This county-wide project sought to bring people together to revive, re-imagine and reflect on everyday “found objects” and to "express their creative selfies" as they designed and strung section of kinetic strands. Central to this community creation was the premise that everyone's inner designer and/or artist comes to life when given the opportunity to arrange and design compositions with ordinary everyday items.

One of fourteen outdoor kinetic sculptures featured in the 2015 International Kinetic Art Exhibit & Symposium, "Kinetic-Connections" was the only site specific and temporary piece commissioned for the event. From its inception, it was envisioned that the spirit of this ephemeral installation would live on, recycled back into the community for enjoyment in local homes and gardens, as each one-of-a-kind strand was sold. A percentage of sales benefited Boynton Beach’s Public Art Program and Resource Depot, a non-profit whose mission is to "transform waste to wonder".

Process

"Kinetic-Connections" roused creativity in people of all ages and backgrounds
and was developed with the philosophy that each unique object, person and story is special, and when linked, as Aristotle said, "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

For six months the community was invited to re-imagine ordinary items into art while have fun rummaging through their junk drawers, garage, and craft bins to collect objects such as keys, bells, curtain rings, bits of hardware, pieces of jewelry, small house wares, etc.

During free workshops, the community designed sections of the sculpture with items they brought, plus up-cycled pieces provided by Elayna Toby. Participants also created video selfies about their compositions. The symbolism and stories attributed to mundane objects was powerful, such as one teenager who said he included a certain piece of hardware in his design because it represented the strength his father showed when dealing with cancer. A video selfie compilation was presented adjacent to the transformed tree during the exhibit and symposium.

The collaborative design process concluded with stringing bees in Elayna Toby's studio where workshop compositions came to life as they were strung together for kinetic movement and sound.

Additional Information

Following six months of community design workshops, creative up-cycling and stringing, "Kinetic-Connections" took home the "People’s Choice Award" during the International Kinetic Art Exhibit and Symposium, which showcased 14 outdoor kinetic sculptures by artists from around the world. "Kinetic-Connections" was Elayna Toby's first community creation and largest site-specific installation to date. From the beginning she envisioned the temporary art intervention as the first of many "Kinetic-Connections" around the world.