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.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Pallet Construction Tips

  • Wooden pallets can be used whole or broken into pieces
  • When using old recycled pallets, it is advisable to test the wood to make sure it has not been treated by pesticides or other harmful chemicals.
  • Pallets should be thoroughly sanded (electrical power sanders work best) so they are clean and splinter-free.
  • Pallet nails were engineered to never pull out; thus removing them can be difficult. You can use a drill with bits designed for metal to drill through the head of the nail. Crowbars are also helpful for breaking pallets apart.
  • Pallets can be joined together with common bolts, brackets, or cable ties.
  • Pallet wood can break and splint easily if struck directly with a hammer; use scrap wood blocks instead.
  • Cheap blades and tools should be used when working with pallets. The wood is rough and can be embedded with objects hard enough to break tools.

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