September 2014, Black Hawk Mini Park

project statement: Beginning from an idea of building temporary sculptures, the PS1 Projects team landed on the idea of exploring more functional temporary structures in a public setting. A series of plastic shelters or pop-up shops hosting a variety of art-driven events were early ideas. Eventually the idea of making one form, a pyramid, was reached. Some of the ideas leading to it included: visually and symbolically exploring the idea of transparent buildings, creating a structure open to any and all, building a structure/model that was significantly different than those in the surrounding environment.

A recently published plan from the City of Iowa City speaks of the location of our pyramid and notes Black Hawk Mini Park’s history: “as a ‘park for all and a celebration of free speech’.” Our hope is to keep this spirit alive and allow public participation in our process. The pyramid will serve as an open house and we will hold open workshops to allow for the building of pneumatic structures and addition of text and image to our pyramid. We hope to engage the public in ideas about their place, their space, and this city.

Developed over several months of open weekly meetings and experiments at PS1, the public iteration of the People's Pyramid included day-long public access to the structure, encouraging the addition of text, image, and additional pneumatic shapes to its walls; a gelatin printing workshop with Zenzic Press, a liberal approximation of a performance of John Cage's Imaginary Landscape No. 4, and an evening slideshow of historic images of the Iowa City urban environment.

The Pyramid was created in conjunction with the exhibition Reframing the City, a multifaceted exhibition and series of collaborative actions exploring Iowa City’s local urban space in both terms of materials and the politics that compose it. Reframing the City was co-produced with the University of Iowa School of Urban and Regional Planning (in honor of their 50th anniversary), ArtsShare, the Office of Outreach and Engagement, and the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities.