OSCILLATION BY THE URBAN CONGA
November 21 – December 26, 2023
By special arrangement with Creos, the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts is thrilled to bring the immersive, interactive travelling art exhibition, Oscillation, created by The Urban Conga to West Palm Beach. Oscillation, will be on display at the Kravis Center and will be operational daily from 7am to 11pm.
What is Oscillation?
Oscillation is an interactive touring installation that uses sight, sound, and movement to spark spontaneous community activity and social interaction through open-ended play. The installation reacts similarly to a Theremin, a musical instrument that you can play with movement without touching.
“It doesn’t take any skill to play the pieces, just some subtle movements. As you walk toward the pieces, they play different sounds and pitches depending on your distance from them. When you move and dance around them, they also reflect and refract light in different ways revealing different colors and filtered reflections based on the angle it is viewed,” said Ryan Swanson of The Urban Conga. “When designing Oscillation, we wanted to create a piece that would have a similar but different identity during the day and at night. During the day, the pieces reflect the surrounding environment and often become the perfect Instagram backdrop, and then at night, the pieces illuminate from within and cast a splash of changing colors within the surrounding space.”
“The crystal-like structures begin to disrupt the once static spaces with a moment of open-ended playful activity. The result is a totally immersive experience that breaks down social barriers and fuels joyful conversations between strangers. Oscillation isn’t just about sparking an interaction between the person and the piece, but also sparking connections between people,” remarked Maeghann Coleman of The Urban Conga.
About the Urban Conga:
The Urban Conga is a Brooklyn, NY-based award-winning multidisciplinary design studio led by Ryan Swanson and Maeghann Coleman, AIA. The studio is comprised of a diverse group of creatives focused on sparking community interaction and social activity through open-ended play. They achieve this by utilizing play methodologies as a critical tool implemented not just in the work itself but in the participatory design process in which the work is created. Their work explores the idea of working with clients to create more playable cities as an ecosystem of inclusive multiscale playable opportunities intertwined with our existing urban fabric.
Through this work, The Urban Conga has had opportunities to collaborate with local communities, NGOs, businesses, municipal agencies, and institutions worldwide, delivering multi-scaled urban interventions, playable products, workshops, lectures, development plans, and public policy recommendations.
The experiences and spaces The Urban Conga create are just one component of the work they do. The impact of the connections, conversations, relationships, knowledge, and equity that they have been able to spark through these opportunities goes far beyond the physical work itself.
Play is our natural driver as humans to discover, explore, and empathize with others. It is universal, and it can be applied as a powerful tool to start bridging divides and breaking inequities within our cities and public spaces. And yet, the term “play” is consistently absent from significant discussions surrounding urban development, public space design, and city change. Often play is seen isolated within a specific space for a specific group, and through our work they push to shift that narrative and begin to generate open-ended playable opportunities for all demographics within everyday spaces. Their work investigates how play can start to exist in these everyday spaces at a variety of scales.
The work created by The Urban Conga begins to encourage people to think about these spaces that could become PLAYces: like public park benches, bus stops, streetlights, or just the everyday spaces in-between. They explore how these often once overlooked and underutilized situations can turn into inclusive, stimulating, creative outlets for communal connection. The work becomes more than just a photogenic monument or moment in time; they become ever-changing, open-ended platforms that showcase how play can impact the identity, health, social, and economic value of our cities and communities. The Urban Conga sees their work as a catalyst for sparking a larger conversation about the value of inclusive, open-ended play within their everyday lives.