Weingarten Art Group’s fall 2018 installation for Downtown Houston’s Discovery Green welcomes GUST by Mexican-collective Cocolab. The kinetic and engaging concept makes visible patterns of the wind with vivid color, subtle motion and patterns of light through a landscape created by illuminated pinwheels. It’s an environment that our team believes will engender families from all over to enjoy a reprieve from their daily lives, offering an opportunity to create memories and bond with their surroundings.
A lot goes into the design and execution of GUST. To explore the creative approach, let’s chat with the genius that’s Cocolab to understand the relationship between place and art that resulted in this site-specific installation.
Q: Why was Discovery Green the perfect setting for your concept GUST?
A: Discovery Green is a place where people come every day to walk, to breathe and to take an outdoor break from their city lives. So although it is very connected to the city, it is also a place that invites people to do something a little different, where there is the possibility to play.
Playfulness is a very important part of our concept for GUST. There is also a pathway, the Brown Promenade, that is key because we never imagined a stationary audience. Movement is a core part of the concept. We visualize the movement of the breeze over 1500 pinwheels, and we always imagined the audience moving through that experience, seeing the piece from different angles, and creating a dynamic relationship between the wind, the park and us.
Q: Public engagement is very important in all your works: Why is that?
A: People like to play with things. We are not purely visual people, and we, as a collective, like to make experiences that are completed by the public. We live in a time that is dominated by screens, so to create something physical and tactile that can be fully experienced in physical reality is becoming more and more valuable.
We believe that people in general are more and more attracted to that.
Q: What are you trying to achieve with guests that interact with your environments?
A: We want them to be part of the experience and to realize that everyone can be an agent of change, in ideas, in society and especially in art. We love seeing people add their point of view to the things we do because they share their ideas, their perspective and their passion. We want to dissolve the idea that art exhibitions are passive experiences. Our point of view is fundamentally linked to participation and sharing ideas.
Q: Pinwheels: Where did that idea come from?
A: The idea to use colored pinwheels appeared on the very first day we visited Discovery Green. We wanted to develop an installation that would bring a spirit of play to the park and that would bring smiles to the faces of people passing by.
A pinwheel is a universal symbol of playfulness regardless of the culture from which we come, and something that connects us back to childhood. In addition, we also loved the idea of a field of colored objects that kind of look like flowers, almost like the wind is pollinating them with light, and creating a mixture of changing colors that carry us through a little corridor full of magic.
Q: Who or what inspired you to follow a career in your unique blend of creativity, technology and public engagement?
A: We have been influenced by many studios, artists and technologies, but without a doubt our greatest source of inspiration comes from our visual culture here in Mexico. We are surrounded by a vivid visual grammar full of colors, textures and shapes. Even as we explore new technologies or fabrication techniques, we stay connected to that visual tradition and we love to find new ways to evolve it and translate it through new tools.
Q: What do you love about Discovery Green?
A: We love the idea of having a public space that really welcomes everyone. We are convinced that the future of societies, especially in cities, is to have spaces where people come together through the exchange of ideas and experience and this is Discovery Green for us!
Q: What has it been like working with the Weingarten Art Group team?
Magical! Looking forward to work again with Piper Faust and the amazing Weingarten Art Group team.
GUST is on view from mid November 2018 through March 2019.