The installation has a double function: it is at once a public sculpture and a module for skateboarders to practice their sport. A gigantic Möbius strip (approximately 7 metres in diameter) is made of plywood and metal in the manner of skate park architecture. The materials from which the form is constructed suggest a ramp either for usage or as a recognisable object associated with skateboarding.
Welcome On Board is a ‘space prototype' derived from the consideration of skateboarders in an urban environment. From this important relationship between an environment and a practice, the aim is to rework the effects of this confrontation to produce a new form. I consider the work a ‘space prototype' in the sense that it materialises the effects of sliding people on an urban environment.
The challenge of this project is to produce a very specific object rather than a cultural "ready made" or a simple contextual displacement. The proposed object would have the multi function of public sculpture, visual tool and play space. The aim is to shift the idea of public sculpture from ‘monument' to ‘motor'. The proposed architectural form becomes a vehicle for re appropriation, for a movement, for an action of the people on their surroundings. It aims to encourage the urban space to be interacted with in a new way: by turning it into a loop, by flipping it upside down, by deforming it in order to better grasp it.
It is impossible to interpret the town in its entirety, to imagine it as a whole. Because the town spreads, slips out of control each time one attempts to imagine it, it is necessary to consider the binding elements in order to grasp it as a single block. In public spaces, skaters start with a selection process. As Ian Borden states: "Skateboarders analyze architecture not for historical, symbolic or authorial content but for how surfaces present themselves as skateable surfaces"1. They fragment the architectural space into useful parts and produce continuity between the elements. It is the study of this decomposed urban space that this project focuses on. Through the sculpture I aim to give a form to the afore mentioned ‘binding elements'.
When I consider skateboarding in terms of the production of forms or spaces, it is the Möbius strip that comes to mind. Looping, twisting, inversion and continuous motion are all figures performed by the skater in the space surrounding him. The form is also of particular interest because it has often been utilised in public sculpture projects. It is one of the stereotypes of 1970s public sculpture. In this particular context, the work acts as a pattern, code, a recognisable symbol.
Similar to urban structures and architecture, public sculpture can be considered on a similar level to the elements in public spaces appropriated by the skateboarding genre. It offers new forms, spaces and surfaces to the skateboarders which in turn encourages the creation of new skateboarding figures. A series of superb examples can be seen in the work «Riding modern art" by Raphael Zarka which classifies the utilisation of public sculpture in skater videos
Skateboard Monument by Dan Graham or Skate Park by Peter Kogler are both works that re-utilise existing forms while celebrating the art of skateboarding. In Welcome on board the proposed module is conceived from skateboarding practice rather than with the intention of practice. The remaining challenge is whether it is in fact skateable.
1. Ian Borden; A Performative Critique of the American City: the Urban Practice of Skateboarding, 1958-1998<
Pº de la Castellana esquina C/ Goya, frente a Plaza de Colón