Social Block takes its inspiration from the humble cinder block, among the most ubiquitous elements of the modern human built environment. At approximately 2.3 times normal scale, Social Block forms a new relationship to the human body, existing at the juncture of sculpture, furniture, and architecture.
In designing Social Block, Callaghan drew from William H. Whyte’s The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces, a seminal work of urban research into the interactions of crowds with public parks and plazas. Whyte’s concept of triangulation, the “process by which some external stimulus provides a linkage between people and prompts strangers to talk to each other as though they were not" is a guiding principle of this project. Social Block has utility.
Social Block emerges from an intersection of aesthetic influences – in the artist’s words, “John Carpenter theme park meets Isamu Noguchi garden.” The installation is a tableau, an associative landscape onto which the viewer is invited to project the long arc of human history and its cycles of construction, destruction, and renewal.