As a part of the 25th anniversary of the Walker Art Centre’s Sculpture Garden in Minneapolis, artists, architects and engineers have collaborated to create the unique mini golf course “Walker on the Green.” Each hole throughout the course is an artwork in itself, by introducing an innovative way to interpret the game. Throwing caution and convention to the wind, obstacles such as gnome foosball, help “Walker on the Green” reinvent the humble game of mini golf for a new, eagerly awaiting audience. An outcome that could only be achieved via a clever collaboration between Art, Architecture and Engineering.
Highlights of the course include a pinball machine inspired mini mansion and an Ames room that plays with our concept of space and scale. You could argue that many conversional mini golf courses do this by being inherently “mini” however artworks within “Walker on the Green” examine and subvert this relationship in alternative ways. Mega Golf embraces the concept of scale by inverting the player’s relationship to the game, relocating play inside a giant golf ball where players putt around a miniature model of the Walker Art Center. Other holes more directly reflect “the spirit of a classic mini-golf course,” says the project’s curator, Scott Stulen. “Can You Handle This?” by Tom Loftus and Robin Schwartzman requires golfers to putt a ball through a quintessential mini golf obstacle: an overly tacky, overly big yellow watering can.
Some artists have taken the opportunity to comment on environmental issues for instance Hole 13, Swarm, by Alyssa Baguss and Alison Hiltner was “Inspired by the aerial views of pivot irrigation, this hole explores a failed agrarian culture The landscape is now arid and repurposed by new inhabitants whose only visual imprint is their architecture.” The artists invite people to explore and consider future scenarios in an effort to encourage environmental sustainability in an unexpected way. A message that doesn’t feel heavy-handed in the format of a mini golf course, and is not confined to the walls of a gallery, yielding a larger more diverse audience.
Interdisciplinary collaboration certainly helps deliver projects that are highly creative and have purpose and potential beyond the sum of their individual creative parts. By employing engineers and architects, the artwork In “Walker on the Green” is a functional interactive game. And conversely, injecting art into a conventional mini golf course, reconceptualises the game. Whether creating a community game such as mini golf, or any event or activity designed to engage a community, it is important to spend some time exploring what the possibilities are, if interdisciplinary collaboration is introduced. The relationship between art, design and product certainly should not be overlooked in the world of brands. Especially when creativity and innovation are so crucial for a brand to stand out in a crowded market place.