Three Sheets to the Wind (2012) was created with fellow students, David Kadish and Julia Prudhomme, in a creative art seminar in the second year of my PhD program at UBCO.
It was an interactive outdoor installation comprised of three hammocks suspended from trees using an interconnected pulley system whereby all hammocks needed to be occupied simultaneously by participants in order for any hammock to function. It was installed on numerous occasions in various locations on the UBCO campus in Kelowna and at the Bishop Bird Sanctuary in Vernon, BC.
Creating Three Sheets to the Wind was a delightful process once we collectively decided to offer a playful experience for people to interact and connect with each other in an outdoor environment. The collaboration became about playfulness, in designing and creating the interconnected hammocks.
Together we brought forward elements that expressed our multiple understandings of child’s play (using materials close at hand), artistic play (imagination and relational aesthetics), and ecological play (embodying an oscillating ecosystem) that became embedded in the piece.
The social process allowed us to learn how to play collaboratively, and actively listen to each other’s creative ideas, aesthetic suggestions and technical issues as the installation took form in the space between our contributions.
Three Sheets to the Wind is an example of how play – eco artists playing together with a symbol of play (hammocks being about resting and swinging about, rather than serious work!), created an installation that permitted participants to experience play and “playing together.”
On one level the piece is about how play generates simple pleasure when participants surrender to the physicality of the experience. In this case, being nested in a hammock allows participants to relinquish intellectual control of the situation and instead open pathways to sensory learning.
The experience is made more complex by the fact that to reach a state of rest and receptivity, participants have to negotiate with each other about how to achieve a balance between the three interconnected hammocks.