The interactive installation in P.S.1's courtyard that you don't want to miss

Photographs by Sarah Lerner

P.S.1's employees must get a kick out of summer; they host one of the best summer afternoon parties around, and their courtyard gets completely transformed every year, thanks to the Young Architects Program, celebrating its 11th year. We, in any case, love seeing how the museum's courtyard becomes a totally new place. This year, the winning design is an interactive, technologically advanced structure built from sustainable materials, all of which are intended for reuse after the exhibition ends. Adorable architect duo SO-IL won this year's MoMA-hosted Young Architects Program with what is on the surface a brightly colored playground for adults and children alike. On a recent visit during the opening of the installation, visitors to the courtyard needed no instruction to start whacking at the oversize neon rubber balls or climbing into the orange hammocks and the small child-sized pool (with shoes off, of course) in the center of the yard.

Some of the best elements of the work, titled Pole Dance, are a bit more subtle than the neon-toned toys. The poles, which support the large net covering the installation, are not as rigid as they seem—they are meant to be pushed and pulled, which in turn sways the hammocks and sends the balls astray. In a side courtyard, which features a sandy floor, the poles get a little more advanced: Electronic sensors called "accelerometers" take the motion and turn it into tones. These tones can also be manipulated by the use of an iPhone app, and the eventual sound is an aggregation of these effects. The motion of the poles can even be seen with the app, and on the website Even when the installation is technically closed, the website will be monitoring the sounds created by the wind.

The installation will be an integral part of P.S.1's Warm Up series, especially when the DJs and performers eventually collaborate with the sounds of the poles, which will be changing periodically throughout the summer. Since it may be a hot and sticky summer, SO-IL has thoughtfully included misters along with
their large and cozy hammocks, perfect for overheated museum- and concertgoers alike. The first Warm Up event is this Saturday, July 3, from 2 to 9pm, featuring a live performance by Delorean.--Sarah Lerner