Today from our friends at BmoreArt we bring you a piece on an interactive art installation in an abandoned trolley station. Author Brendan L. Smith says of the space, “The curving walls of an oval-shaped room descend like stair steps next to a cluster of miniature buildings that resemble a child’s bristle-block creations.” This article was originally published on April 4, 2016.
In an abandoned trolley station buried beneath Dupont Circle in downtown Washington, D.C., new worlds are being created and destroyed in a subterranean space filled with hundreds of thousands of translucent plastic balls.
An interactive art installation called Re-Ball!: Raise/Raze united architects, designers, and 1,400 volunteers in the inaugural project by Dupont Underground, a nonprofit organization that has transformed the derelict trolley station into an unusual arts and cultural destination. Tickets for the entire month-long run of the installation sold out before the doors, or really a grate over the street-level subway entrance, opened April 30, but more tickets have been added before the June 1 closing.
More than 650,000 plastic balls, enough to fill an “ocean” during a very popular installation called The Beach last summer at the National Building Museum, were packed and moved to the Dupont Underground, which hosted an international design competition with entries from 19 countries. To create the winning proposal from New York–based design studio Hou de Sousa, volunteers armed with 225 pounds of glue created almost 10,000 cubes, each containing twenty-seven balls, that can be combined like building blocks with Velcro edges.