Moving between the levels of a building is not something people tend to think of as anything other than perfunctory. We rarely think, for example, about whether our going upstairs or downstairs is adequately fun. A new installation at Austria's OK Center for Contemporary Art, however, has made it so.
Net Linz is designed by design collective Numen, whose String installation Gizmag featured earlier this year. String takes the form of a 3D grid of ropes suspended within a huge, blank, inflated cube. Individuals are able to climb around the cube in an unusual and disorienting environment. Net Linz is a similar interactive rope structure.
Numen describes Net Linz as "inhabitable / climbable social sculpture serving as an experimental staircase in the exhibition space." It is 25 m (82 ft) long, 10 m (33 ft) high and 4 m (13 ft) wide, and can be accessed from any level of the building. According to Numen's Nikola Radeljkovic, it was designed specifically for the OK Center space, albeit based on previous Net installations created elsewhere.
"In this narrow but long and extremely high corridor we couldn’t have done anything else," explains Radeljkovic. "Which doesn’t mean that the solution came easily. Since the physics of the structure work totally differently in horizontal and vertical 'modes', we had to test the idea in larger and larger models. In the end we made 1:4 scale model in order to test how the tension will spread."
The nets have a canyon-like appearance, as a result of being hung from the ceiling and weighted to the floor with sand bags. Climbing them is said to provide a swaying and wobbly sensation, albeit without necessarily causing alarm. Some visitors have spent hours climbing up and down the nets, Radeljkovic reports, despite the hard and uncomfortable rope material.
Net Linz is on display at the OK Center for Contemporary Art in Linz, Austria, until October 19th.