About Pallet City

Artists: Katherine Gressel and Jeremy Reed

Pallet City
was an interactive public art project made almost entirely from recycled shipping pallets. Pallet City juxtaposes different common uses of the pallet as an art/building material, and invites participation and feedback, simultaneously raising questions about practicality and aesthetics of pallet use. The city's fluid, linear forms and signage imply different actions that take place within the urban environment: sit (implied by a bench); park (a bike rack); dwell (a shelter); plant (a planter with small garden, which visitors can help water); perform (a stage where visitors can mount and document spontaneous performances); observe (seats accompanying the theater); exhibit (a gallery space with 2-3 different exhibits that the artists will curate during the summer, and a shelf where visitors can curate their own exhibits); play (a playful rolling wave), and learn (an ‘information kiosk’ at one end). Pallet City thus describes the city in terms of active, democratic use rather than passive viewing or restricted areas. The project was meant to spark public dialogue on the notion of city itself and the creation of democratic, sustainable cities. Pallet City was designed for the FIGMENT Terrace season-long sculpture garden on Governors Island in summer 2010.

Pallet City was open to the public at all times Governors Island was open to the public, Friday-Sunday, June 5-October 3, 2010. Please visit the official Governors Island page for directions to the island.

This blog documents the development of the project, and the public's experiences with it.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Photos from Gallery Exhibit 1, "Framing the Ideal City"

A participatory opening exhibition
On view June 11-27

What is your vision of an ideal city?

Pallet City’s design suggests various components that make up an ideal city: green space, sustainable building materials, cultural venues, urban farming. Surrounding Pallet City, the FIGMENT sculpture garden, and the newly preserved and redeveloping Governors Island, also pose innovative models for urban living.

On the Pallet City “exhibit” walls, found vintage frames contain once-blank Tyvek paper—implying connection between past and future, and the role of Governors Island as one of the few still-developing sites in New York City.

At FIGMENT opening weekend, visitors were invited to decorate these blank surfaces with their visions of an ideal city. People also chose to leave their marks on the gallery walls, turning this section into a participatory, guerrilla art experience.

The graffiti outside the frames was not originally intended, but turned out to be a nice addition, in terms of further enhancing the idea of a participatory gallery that is decorated and curated by the public. At opening weekend, viewers seemed to love making their marks on the pallets. People even wrote and drew things about what they'd like to see in their ideal city. We would later sand off some of this graffiti to prep the walls for future art exhibits, but wound up keeping some of the most pithy and artistic contributions from the public.

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