OMA’s new york office — led by shohei shigematsu — has collaborated with artist taryn simon on a major new work at new york’s park avenue armory, on view from now through september 25, 2016. ‘an occupation of loss’ is a large scale sculpture comprising 11 inverted concrete wells, each measuring 45 feet in height and built from eight, stacked industrial rings. within these monumental structures, 30 professional mourners from around the world enact rituals of grief each evening, their voices resounding throughout the vast drill hall.

OMA taryn simon park avenue armory
11 inverted concrete wells each measure 45 feet in height
all images by naho kubota

 

 

co-commissioned by the armory and artangel, ‘an occupation of loss’ serves as a symbol of the never-ending human need to give structure to death in an attempt to understand it. through the installation, simon investigates the intricate systems humans devise to cope with grief and the unpredictability of the universe.

 

‘the design was sonically-motivated, focusing on the performative act of loss rather than its physical manifestation, which has been historically marked by multiple scales – from tombstones to the world trade center memorial,’ shohei shigematsu of OMA comments. ‘the industrial wells were configured into a readymade ruin that responds to both personal and monumental dimensions.’

OMA taryn simon park avenue armory
professional mourners from around the world enact rituals of grief each evening

 

 

OMA’s large-scale sculpture functions as a discordant instrument around which each performance unfolds, orchestrated by the presence, absence, and movement of the audience. the mourners’ evening ritual weeping includes: albanian laments, excavating ‘uncried words’; venezuelan laments, safeguarding the soul’s passage to the milky way; greek laments, binding the story of life with afterlife in polyphonic poetics; and yezidi laments, mapping a topography of exile. the professional status of these mourners emphasizes the resulting tension between authentic and staged emotion.

 

by day, visitors are asked to activate the installation with their own sounds alongside a subtle, recorded drone of the mourners’ rituals echoing throughout the vast space.

OMA taryn simon park avenue armory
mourners’ voices resounding throughout the vast drill hall

OMA taryn simon park avenue armory
the installation investigates the intricate systems humans devise to cope with grief

OMA taryn simon park avenue armory
OMA’s large-scale sculpture functions as a discordant instrument

OMA taryn simon park avenue armory
by day, visitors are asked to activate the installation with their own sounds

OMA taryn simon park avenue armory
the installation is built from eight, stacked industrial rings

OMA taryn simon park avenue armory
the professional mourners emphasize the tension between authentic and staged emotion

OMA taryn simon park avenue armory
‘an occupation of loss’ is on view from now through september 25, 2016

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