One two three swing! in the Tate Modern's Turbine Hall review: A crowd pleasing playground for physics nerds

Melissa York
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One two three swing!

There are few things that transport one back to childhood as effectively as a swing. As soon as you park your bum onto one and push off, you’re flying straight into a yesteryear of sticky Ribena cartoons and velcro shoes.

No one knows this better than Danish art collective Superflex, which has created a joyous playground in the Tate’s Turbine Hall. Once this vast industrial space was regularly filled with blockbuster installations that grabbed the public attention – Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds in 2010, Carston Holler’s giant slide in 2006, Louise Bourgeois's monumental steel spider back in 2000 – but the last few have been a bit disappointing, involving slow-changing aspects like watching plants grow or a video installation that evolves over six months.

This one clicks into place immediately. It doesn’t require reflection, it requires only participation. The swings themselves are manufactured in bright, pastel shades at the far end the hall, then set up along an orange line that travels through the space. You could dangle by yourself, but then you’d be missing the point. Invite friends or strangers to swing with you (each “rung” seats three) and the added momentum means you’ll soar to new heights in a tangible demonstration of our increased effect on the world around us when we work together.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the hall, you can lie on a carpet striped in the colours of British banknotes and watch as a hynotic pendulum swings overhead, demonstrating the movement of the earth.

An exhibition that would be right at home in the Science Museum, Swing! is a crowd pleasing playground for physics nerds.

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