“Wendy” – this year’s winning submission from design firm HWKN–is a large, spiky blue sculptural installation constructed out of “nylon fabric treated with a ground breaking titania nanoparticle spray to neutralize airborne pollutants”. According to the designers, the neutralizing effect of these materials is the equivalent of removing 260 cars from the road.
The emphasis on air pollution, however, ignores the installation’s use of water as “entertainment” in the form of mists, a water canon, and a pool. In this region it can be difficult to remember that, globally, human water consumption threatens the planet’s ability to replenish resources naturally. Even while we enjoy cooling off on a scorching hot summer day, let’s also remember what a luxury it is to play in water with no concern for conservation. Developing solutions to complex problems of ecological sustainability requires innovative solutions and this installation forces us to question our assumptions of the limits of art and design.
Wendy is part of MoMA PS 1’s annual Warm Up series that offers music, rotating exhibitions, and a variety of performances every Saturday through September 8. Tickets are available in person or through the website. However, if your summer entertainment budget is already running low, consider applying to volunteer with MoMA PS 1. You’ll score free museum passes and maybe even some behind-the-scenes gossip!
Image: MoMA PS 1