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November 08, 2019

You can walk through a huge, interactive cocoon made of tape at the Navy Yard

Local art collective Group X worked with a European group to turn 21 miles of tape into an attraction

Public Art Sculpture
Navy Yard tape cocoon Contributed image/Navy Yard

Group X, the collection of local artists behind last year's surprise Navy Yard tentacles, announced its next nature-themed project: an interactive cocoon made of tape.

Group X, the collection of local artists behind last year's surprise Navy Yard tentacles, announced its next nature-themed project Friday: an interactive cocoon made of tape.

The project, officially called "Tape Philadelphia: Enter The Cocoon", is an art installation-via-partnership between Group X and the Philadelphia Navy Yard. The cocoon, built in a big empty building on Langley Avenue, is made of more than 21 miles of translucent tape, according to Group X, and uses the building's structure to maintain its shape.

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Here's the project's reveal video:

That sure looks wild! Its aesthetic feels reminiscent of Spike Jonze's 2009 adaptation of "Where the Wild Things Are".

The art collective behind this year's project, Numen/For Use, has created tape structures before, most recently in Moscow earlier this year. The group also created one in Des Moines two years ago, in an art building designed by the man behind the Society Hill Towers, architect I.M. Pei.

Now, after the explosive popularity of the Navy Yard tentacles, and because of the cocoon's interactive nature, you can't just expect to head down to the Navy Yard and trot into the structure. The project is open for viewing starting Nov. 9, but interacting with the exhibit will likely require a reservation. (The Navy Yard's website makes it sound like you don't explicitly need a reservation, but says that without one, walking through the cocoon "may have long wait times or may not be possible during peak periods".) 

The installation runs from Nov. 9 to Dec. 1, and is open for 12 days during that stretch.

For those interested in reserving a tape-related journey, there are also a few guidelines. Guests will need to sign a waiver; participants will need to be at least 40 inches tall; children under the age of 11 will need to be accompanied by adults; and there's no running, standing, or jumping allowed. You'll be crawling, just like a little caterpillar. How fun.

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