DAN SHIPSIDES - Blood cell sequence




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Close up Blood Cell Sequence - click to enlarge

Blood cell sequence

Materials, Timber, Plywood, climbing holds, fittings, blackboard, chalk and mattresses.
Dimensions variable. Height 4m, Length 10m, Depth 4.5m.

Smart Project Space, Amsterdam (site specific)

This is one of two projects developed for the Smart Project Space ( www.smartprojectspace.net ) in Amsterdam for an exhibition titled Endure. Comprising of a video work entitled Swammerdam Groove which documents a series of exploratory climbs throughout the Swammerdam building in Amsterdam and Blood Cell Sequence a bouldering ( a form of rock climbing ) structure designed to be used by local climbers as a training facility. Both works embrace the metaphor of research and pushing ones’ limits. Both works were exhibited together in the main gallery space at the front of the building.

The Swammerdam building is squatted by the Smart Project Space and houses a major artist studio complex a bar, a club and a number of other culture related organisations. It is under threat from developers and a battle is being fougt to save the building for the local community and arts community. Previously a medical research college named after Jan Swammerdam ( the scientist who discovered the Red blood cell ) the building now continues to be active dynamic space for new thinking, research and cultural exploration.

Blood Cell Sequence is constructed in the ground floor gallery space and is easily viewed from the street through the large windows. The work is interactive and open for local climbers to use and adapt for their own training purposes. It comprises of a large wood frame structure divided into four cells. Each cell presents an angled climbing wall with crash mats and with each cell progressively getting steeper and more over hung. The walls have sequences of colour coded climbing holds placed and replaced (as desired) through collaboration with local climbers. With each set of colours in each cell proposing an individual challenge to “solve” the work acts as “live” concern for those engaged. It creates an environment for testing and pushing climbing technique, strength, flexibility and limits. Its’ publicly interactive and visual nature gives the work and the gallery a dynamic role in promoting the usage of the building for the arts and local community. A blackboard is used to record the ongoing changing routes in terms of who set or made the route, their’s and other’s comments, tips etc.


Endure Smart Project Space, Amsterdam.Blood Cell Sequence / Swammerdam groove. 2002