Artwork lets users climb around huge cube of ropes
By Stu Robarts
February 14, 2014
Cultured arachnid fans are in for a treat with a new artwork from Vienna-based collective Numen. String is a 3D grid of ropes suspended within a huge inflated cube. Users can enter the exhibit and clamber their way around its intricate mesh in a blank and disorientating environment.
Numen describes String as a self supporting inhabitable social sculpture, and says it uses parallel ropes tied at opposite sides of the cube in order to maintain its shape. When String is deflated, its ropes become loose and the cube can be easily folded and packed away. Once inflated, however, the web of ropes become taut and can carry the weight of a person.
Nikola Radeljkovic of Numen told Gizmag that String was inspired when the collective saw an inflatable structure from within. "The interior, consisting of thin parallel ropes with a membrane diffusing the outer light, struck us immediately as a magical space," he explains. "Then we started working on ways to get people inside, to let them climb, and so the project evolved."
Radeljkovic says that the feeling of being inside String is unusual. "You lose the feeling of size and direction," he says. "Although it is a 'mathematical' space, the movement and the softness of the skin has a certain primordial aspect to it. It is both safe and unknown at the same time."
The collective began fundraising for String and producing the membrane with a partner company last year, and worked with another company to develop the entrance and other details. The development process has presented a number of issues, including the complicated mess of ropes that occurs when the installation is deflated and users experiencing seasickness if the weather is too windy.
Numen was formed in 1999 and produces work in the fields of scenography, industrial and spatial design and conceptual art. The group has produced a number of other works similar to String, including Tape, Net and Tuft series.
The current version of String is at the prototype stage, with Numen looking to improve climbing comfort and security in particular. The designers expect to exhibit a finalized version later this year, although a date and location have yet to be set.