Ube Competition Arboretum Sculpture

Ube City in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan is praised for the way its sculptures provoke a transition between the war and the post-war flourishing state of the city. We were fascinated by the ideas of transition and transformation. Limbo is series of bent steel pipes, creating an intricate kinetic experience that closely relates to the human body. The sculpture can be read as a gate, portal and passageway. It is designed for human proportions, in order to dictate the body motions of those who venture through it. An opening slices through the side to the top creating different relationships between inside and context. A pinch on one side forces the person to rotate their body and enter sideways, facing an opening to the outside. An incremental lifting of the steel raises the person coming from the other side, through an opening to the sky from which they can peek their head out, before coming back down to meet the person crossing from the other side midway. There, the hierarchy is dictated as well and one person can sit while the other stands facing them. In order to proceed through, two bodies will have to face each other’s and pass sideways, imposing interaction and conversation.