Outdoor swing installation
playground art installation by Environmental Encroachment

On a november fifth, 1994, Dave Christensen, Kevin Cooney and Mike Smith erected a giant swing, with the help of Greg Willis and two volunteers.
The location was a large tract of abandoned industrial land spanning between 12th street (Roosevelt Road) all the way south to 18th street, with the east-west borders being Clark street and the east shore of the Chicago river. Inside this stretch were huge concrete embakments, overgrown with trees, and elevated railroad butress, huge mechanical raised railway bridges, and desolation right downtown for as far as the eye could see, until you look high and saw the Sears Tower. This view is from driving across the 18th st. bridge looking north.
Closer to 18th street stood a tower consisting of two telephone poles, each about sixty five feet tall, with a twenty foot wide bridge connecting them at the top made of beams and wood planking. The tower was used to signal the trains. It was a free pole climb to the top, and unsteady a bit on the top bridge cross beam; Kevin had acidentally set it ablaze while taking a small welder up there on his discovery of this place. CRAZY!
In this photo, you can see Kevin standing, appearing as a small white speck on the lower right of the right side pole. It was quite a scary climb, the rush involved was part of a exhillarating and dangerous process of making the sculpture; potentially, "Art that Kills".
The idea was to mount a metal pole to the top bridge with clamps and bolts. The metal pole had hinges and the sing pre-attatched. The swing base was a nine foot diameter bowl made out of fiberglass. It would be our swing, suspended from what came out to be forty nine feet of rope. We hoisted the metal bar up with two men on the ground and two up on the tower. Once raised the two on the tower clamped it in place. To elevate the swing and not have to lift its weight up, we placed it on top of Kevin's van directly under the bridge.
This photo was taken at the top of the tower with the double dinosaur bridge in the background, and a shot of the now dead artist and true madman, Dave Christensen, co-founder of EE, bass player, metal sculptor, and bike artist were among his many talents.
ps, it was scary up there.
A shot of the great double bridge, one up and one down, near what would be 16th street and the river. This bridge was also one of our urban free climb spots.
Once up, two people ran the swing along its arc to build up speed and swing higher. We had a huge arc, with our radius being 49 feet. The swing, due to its huge arc of travel, could not generate enough power, even with two men on the ground running back and forth great distances, to get the swing at super high levels, we may have achieved about 30 degrees up.
The swing in all its glory on its initial run with same bridge in background and artist Kevin Cooney at the base of the pole. This is the best overall photo we have of the whole working piece, later, we were to ride in the disk with intentions of coming back to reinstall with shorter ropes.
Here is the swing from the ground looking up.
This was a first foray into playground sculpture and site specific installation for this collaborative group, EE was not formed yet but this was a decisive achievement in its continuation as a genre.
This photo was of Kevin operating the swing. You can judge how high we reached by envisioning the poles in relation to the body.

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