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Cultural Districts / Arts & Entertainment, etc. / Cultural Trail

'Swarm Street' sculpture not worth the wait

July 8, 2014

Had it been ready along with the rest of the commissioned artwork along the Indianapolis Cultural Trail, Vito Acconci’s “Swarm Street” might be seen in a more positive light.

But given the year-long delay, the underwhelming piece of public art is more likely to generate a “so what?” rather than a “wow.”

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Don’t get me wrong: There’s wisdom in the installation of a light-based work in the problematic Virginia Ave. parking garage portion of the Cultural Trail. But the hodgepodge of open-steel framework above accentuates rather than reduces the claustrophobic feeling of the space. Ideally, the focus of attention, instead, would be on the thousands of sensor-driven LED lights in the pavement and above that "swarm" around you as you move through it. But on my daytime walks, the effect was like a lesser version of the airport’s “Interactive Passage” (at least “Swarm Street” has a better name) and the technology didn't feel any more impressive than a decent high school science fair project.

I'm sure the effect improves as darkness descends. But why create a sculptural piece for a bicycle/pedestrian throughway that only has any kind of visual power when few people are going to experience it? 

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