Olek, a Brooklyn-based artist, has taken the threads of this vibrant city as inspiration for a bright world of play that refocuses urban dwellers onto extant social and physical structures.

The artist has covered a massive, alligator-shaped playground with a brightly colored, crocheted net. This project, developed over weeks in connection with the SESC Arts Show 2012, displays an openness to reviving existing surroundings: the traditional crochet craft, the existing urban structures, and the social relations already in place. In a city brimming with potential, this readiness to reuse rather than destroy is a sign of hope for a sustainable, fulfilling future.


Photo by LOSTART

This bright cloak is also a reminder that the playground was once completely novel, an object of wonder. Sitting among the greenery, waiting for children to use it as a fort, climbing wall, or jungle gym, it is hard to imagine the giant alligator fading into normalcy. The covering shows how a structure, aged, can become new again. A new playground, building, or neighborhood is not always needed, only a way to call our attention back to it.


Photo by LOSTART

The shock of the novel also serves as a lubricant of social relations. As children run through the belly of the alligator, designed by Márcia Maria Benevento, the invigorated meeting place allows adults to come together and converse. It gives them both a topic and a place to discuss and exchange, tapping into what has made metropolises great for centuries: social relations.