Human Carriage Gets Applause

Ann Hamilton created the site-specific Human Carriage for the recently closed Third Mind exhibition at the Guggenheim, and I wanted to share it with you because it was absolutely delightful. Her formal description of human carriage reads “Installation of cloth, wire, bells, books, string, pipe, pulleys, pages, cable, gravity, air, and sound.”

It was a playful and fun installation. It was also affecting: viewers clapped every time the book finally dropped. Every time. Once it got stuck, and I stopped in my tracks. What would happen now? (A museum worker with a pole pushed it along.)

The Guggenheim Museum described its working thus: “Hamilton devises a mechanism that traverses the entire Guggenheim balustrade, taking the form of a white silk ‘bell carriage’ with Tibetan bells attached inside. As the cage spirals down along the balustrade, the purifying bells ring, awakening viewers. The mechanism is hoisted back up to a post at the uppermost Rotunda Level 6, where an attendant exchanges weights composed of thousands of cut-up books that counter the pulley system that propels the mechanism itself.”

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