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Art installations part of World's Fair celebration

Mandy Greer's crocheted river is above the fountain in the Alki Courtyard.
Paula Wissel
Mandy Greer's crocheted river is above the fountain in the Alki Courtyard.

Dozens of works of art and performance art pieces have been commissioned for the months-long celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the 1962 World's Fair.

Wander around the Seattle Center campus and you're likely to encounter one of the temporary art installations. 

A River of Crochet

In a grove of trees next to the fountain in the Alki Courtyard near Key Arena is Mandy Greer's Mater Matrix Mother Medium.

It's a canopy of crocheted yarn neatly tied to the tree branches. Greer calls it a river of crochet.

“I’m trying to make visible a flow that happens in the landscape and also next to the built environment," she said.

The work flows through the trees and along the concrete above the fountain. Not only can you look at it, you can contribute to it.

Greer will be holding crocheting sessions occasionally over the next 6 weeks. During Northwest Folklife Festival, May 25-28, she'll have a daily crocheting workshop. What ever is produced is woven into the art work. Greer says she likes crocheting because it's so simple she can teach someone to do it in about 3 minutes.

And, she says, the workshops help create community.   

“Working with your hands and doing hand work creates a different pace. It’s a lot different than a community meeting where there’s a sense of urgency. When crocheting together, people talk about random things, but those random things are where people find connections,” Greer said.

Here's a way to view the map showing where the art is and when you can see it:

See yourself in a weather balloon

Inside the lobby of the Intiman Theater is a large weather balloon. Artist Nathaniel Hartman says he’s using a camera to project people’s faces on the balloon as they pass through the space.

"And the camera can move up and down and you know it’s sort of working with you, it’s not going to be static," he said.

Hartman calls the project "Spherae." He says, even from his home base in Ohio, he'll be able to manipulate what is actually shown on the weather balloon.

And there's more

There are at least 24 other works of art or planned performances, including:

  • Current, Adam Frank – a living map of Seattle's hydroelectric generation and energy use projected onto the north wall in Armory/Center House
  • Put the Needle on the Record, Tyler Potts – A shipping container acts as a recording studio where people will be asked to make recordings that will be put into a time capsule to be opened in 50 years.
  • Sightings (Landings), Christian French – An inflatable UFO that will move around the Center grounds.

For a complete listing and descriptions, pick up a  fold out map called "Illuminations: Art of the Next Fifty at Seattle Center."

Paula is a former host, reporter and producer who retired from KNKX in 2021. She joined the station in 1989 as All Things Considered host and covered the Law and Justice beat for 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.