The group has never shied away from using direct, perhaps heavy-handed symbols (see for instance their films Flooded McDonald’s (2009) or Burning Car (2008) which show exactly what it says on the tin). In the case of this new installation, the swings are almost too heavy to be used solo. When I tried to give one of them a go this morning, it quickly became obvious that I wouldn’t go very high without companions. I asked a few strangers to join me and, properly ballasted, our swing finally took off: One Two Three Swing!
“Something happens when there’s two or three of you on a swing,” says Christiansen. “Once you’ve found your balance, you can create a much more powerful movement and a higher level of energy. The whole process [of the piece] is focusing on the power of collaboration.”
One Two Three Swing! is the first Turbine Hall commission to reach beyond the institution’s walls—and the first masterminded not by an art curator, but by Tate’s Head of Regeneration and Community Partnerships, Donald Hyslop. Its overt inclusivity is a fundamental aspect of the project, and it speaks volumes about the museum’s priorities as a contemporary organization. The distinctive swingsets will pop up in three other locations throughout south London, visually linking private businesses, parks, and housing blocks. Other sites in town and abroad are currently being envisaged. (Visitors are encouraged to leave suggestions in a small side room labeled “the Bank of Opportunities.”)
“People who normally wouldn’t give a shit about going to an art exhibition can interact with the work outside of its confined art space,” as Christiansen simply puts it.