Public art meets the front porch swing in Black Hawk Mini Park

Mi Casa, Your Casa 2.0

Black Hawk Mini Park, June 9-July 10

“Mi Casa, Your Casa 2.0” in Black Hawk Mini Park, June 9, 2022. — Adria Carpenter/Little Village

The official description of Mi Casa, Your Casa 2.0 calls it an “international participatory public art installation” that “features a series of three-dimensional red frames that illustrate the warmth, comfort, and safety of our home.” But anyone walking past Black Hawk Mini Park can be forgiven if their first thought is, Oh, look, swings!

The installation is a set of matching house-shaped frames supporting swings designed to seat two people. (The posted maximum weight for each swing is 250 lbs.) “The swing inside invites the passer-by to settle comfortably in the small houses and to relax by swaying quietly in a unique environment,” the Iowa City Downtown District (ICDD) said in a news release.

Mi Casa, Your Casa 2.0 is the work of Hector Esrawe and Ignacio Cadena, artists and designers based in Mexico City. Esrawe is founder of Esrawe Studio, a multidisciplinary design firm, and Cadena is the owner and creative director of Cadena+Asoc. Concept Design. Since 2008, the two have frequently collaborated on projects.

Mi Casa, Your Casa 2.0 in Black Hawk Mini Park, June 9, 2022. — Adria Carpenter/Little Village

“We are inspired by ordinary objects that surround us,” Esrawe and Cadena said in a statement about their work. “We are influenced by our context and our everyday activities which allow us to visit and share with different cultures and different individuals.”

Esware describes Mi Casa, Your Casa 2.0 as “a strong and subtle symbol in a geometric shape that will allow us to build a unique iconic piece, one that creates a continuous dialogue with audiences and capable of continuous changes and mutations.”

This the second summer ICCD has brought an interactive art piece to Black Hawk Mini Park. Last year, it was Loop, a touring installation created by Ottoblix, a multidisciplinary arts studio in Montreal.

Loop featured 12 pods, inspired by the zoetrope, a tabletop device containing a loop sequential illustration that appeared to come to life when it was spun. The 12 pods in the mini park and in other spots around the Ped Mall, were designed to seat two people across from each other. Occupants would pull a centrally-located bar that made a loop of images lining the inside of the pad spin. The images in the Loop pads were based on the work of French Canadian writers, such as Joséphine Bacon, Dany Laferrière and Wajdi Mouawad.

Mi Casa, Your Casa 2.0 in Black Hawk Mini Park, June 8, 2022. — Adria Carpenter/Little Village

ICDD is hosting Mi Casa, Your Casa 2.0 in partnership with Think Iowa City, the Community Foundation of Johnson County and the City of Iowa City. The swings will be in Black Hawk Mini Park though Sunday, July 10.