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Jacob’s Ladder in Brooklyn, New York by BanG studio
May 31st, 2012 by Sanjay Gangal
Article source: BanG studio
In conjunction with their participation in American Express’ Partners in Preservation program, Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn has commissioned BanG studio to design, fabricate, and erect an art installation inside the synagogue’s main sanctuary. The given theme of the piece is Jacob’s Ladder reflecting the synagogue’s special connection to the story.
Jacob’s Ladder by BanG (JLB) is a site-specific art installation, which reinterprets the biblical story. The piece takes the form of an enormous musical instrument which the public is encouraged to “play.” JLB is constructed from 320 cardboard tubes and 80 metal tubes bolted and lashed together into a twisting and torqueing ladder-like form.
Like the biblical Jacob’s Ladder, JLB inhabits a transitional space. The first of the rungs can be seen from outside the synagogue, drawing visitors up the stairs and in through the main doors. The piece slithers through the entry vestibule and into the main sanctuary where it curves left and climbs abruptly to connect to the Jacob’s Ladder depicted in the synagogue’s stained glass window.
Along one side of the ladder 80 metal tubes are integrated into the structure turning JLB into a playable musical instrument. These tubes are pitched and arranged according the diatonic scale. Visitors are encouraged to “play” the piece ascending and descending along the scale.
The mallets used to play JLB are to be fabricated and customized by the children of Congregation Beth Elohim from a kit of parts supplied by BanG studio. The kit consists of five differently sized wooden mallet heads, wooden dowel shafts, and selection of fabrics and ribbons. Children will assemble and decorate mallets. By virtue of their differing sizes and coverings the mallets will produce different sounds when they are used to strike the metal tubes. In this way each mallet is a tool for reinterpreting the structure.
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