MPLS Rope densCITY
Finalist Minneapolis Creative City Challenge 2013 / Minneapolis Convention Center + Northern Lights
Collaboration with Jeff Montague (JeFe)
MPLS Rope densCITY proposes not only to expand the physical boundary of the MCC Plaza with a temporary structure, but also to bridge the activity and energy of the city's summer events with the plaza and its surroundings. "Retired" rock climbing ropes are used as a primary material to create a multi-colored portal to pass through and engage. Throughout the summer, the ropes will begin to shed from the structure and transform into different user-friendly objects, as well as change the presence and spatial quality of the structure itself. As a result, the ropes serve as the primary portal for bridging the city with the site, the site with the structure and the structure with people. The rope wraps and hangs from the structure, the rope swings as people interact with it, and the rope transitions into the city as the public discovers a new space. By building a density of roped spaces, the portal becomes a temporary city that engages the site, people and materials into eco-focused inter-activity.
Visitors enter the site as pedestrians walking from the city or from the parking ramp that is nestled under the plaza. Rows of trees section the plaza into various spaces and suggest several circulation paths. To the north and south of the plaza tree line, bays of structure string together to form a linear portal creating new configurations of exterior spaces. From the east, the plaza walkway intersects the entrances of the structure. To either side of the walkway, the structure opens to allow the public to play, convene, and transition through the roped spaces. This transition is not a singular mono-chromatic experience, but rather a poly-chromatic sequence that changes as one moves from one end of the installation to the other.
At full bloom in June, 28,000 linear feet of ropes attach to the structure to create a dense and colorful space. Throughout the summer and into the fall, the installation sheds its ropes. This shedding is not random, rather the frame sheds in conjunction with various Minneapolis events. The Gay Pride Parade, Basilica Block Party, Loring Art Festival, Movies in the Park, as well as other MCC events serve as the catalyst for this seasonal rope shedding. As people enter the city for these events, they interact with the ropes as swings, jump ropes, bubble-makers, and in the case of the family dog, as a chew toy or colorful leash. This transformation and shedding accompanies the seasonal color and density change of the existing treeline. In this way, the shedded ropes transform into interactive play objects as they spread throughout MPLS.