pARC by The Urban Conga

June 18, 2022 - July 7, 2025

A child looks at her reflection

pARC is designed as an open-ended spatial gesture that comes to life when people engage with it. The spatial intervention serves as an extension of the conversations, activities, teaching, and programming offered inside the Ackland. The Urban Conga designed pARC to inspire a variety of ways to play; from constructive play to fantasy play, the installation is a transformative communal platform for all users to engage with the space, the Museum, and the University in new ways.

The interactive installation is made up of a series of archways that mimic the archway of the Ackland’s front door. These interconnected arcs appear to grow up from the ground and frame a variety of social spaces that allow people to put their own identities onto the work, the Museum, and the surrounding space. Each of these archways frames or reflects its surroundings, allowing users to look at the area through a different lens. As they pass by the work, they begin to notice that their movement changes the colors of the panels, which spark different filtered views of what is around them.

The installation responds both to the user and to the environment, reflecting and refracting the surrounding context through its colorful dichroic lenses while casting shadows onto the ground and the panels themselves. During the day, as the sun passes over, visitors can see their shadows thrown onto the framed panels creating a shadow play interaction that makes people literally part of the work itself. At night this same effect is created through the use of red, green, and blue lights that allow people to mix the colors of their shadows behind the panels. At each end of the installation sits a platform that serves as a social seating space but also a stage for people to perform shadow plays on the work.

pARC becomes a flexible communal space evoking endless ways to play, gather, perform, teach, converse, or even take a nap. The spatial gesture takes on the identity of the user and utilizes its playable design to break down social barriers and spark communal connection within the space.

Please tag your photos! @theurbanconga #acklandpARC

First and third images above by Anna Routh Barzin; second and fourth images above by Tom Waldenberg


Friday, July 8, 2022
Party in the pARC

Sunday, July 24, 2022
Ackland F.A.M. (Families at the Museum): Play at the pARC