Külakiik - The Village Swing
In the summer of 2012 the collaborative team "With" (Matt Nichols and Kristina Paabus) built a traditional Estonian Village Swing in ten days while at the ACRE residency in Wisconsin. Their mission with building a Külakiik was to create a gathering spot that bridges activity, conversation, and sculpture. This swing is a permanent installation at Red Clover Ranch in Soldiers Grove, WI.
The word “Külakiik” translates from Estonian to English as “Village Swing”, and means exactly that. It is a large, wooden, multi-person swing – fitting anywhere from two to eight (and often more) people at a time. This type of swing is a traditional Estonian structure and well-known pastime that harkens back to Estonian’s pagan roots and appreciation of communal outdoor activities. Due to the country’s far north location, the winters are cold and dark. This harsh environment has led Estonian’s to have a deep gratitude for summer, and the brief period of white nights it brings. The swing offers a platform for interaction as well as an opportunity to be outside together. While travelling through the Estonian countryside, it is not uncommon to regularly come across a Külakiik… and then stop to enjoy it.