proposal for a sculpture on a traffic circle – University of Texas at El Paso

form & movement

In most cases a sculpture is meant to be seen from all directions. Otherwise it is a relief, which can only be viewed optimally from one side. And this is what is so peculiar about a sculpture which is situated on a location like a traffic circle. It, like a relief, is also seen from one direction at a time – and, for a short period. Only slowly, as it is approached, its plasticity becomes more explicit – and even more so the moment you start your rotation around the traffic circle. During that short period you see the sculpture up close from the inside.
Therefore I've been giving increasing consideration to this phenomenon and to the particular characteristics which should be taken into account in relation to such an object?

Also, I read in the Q&A that the sculpture could possibly become an iconic object which could reflect the history, demographics, or geography of UTEP, and/or El Paso.

comparison between an icon and a sculpture on a traffic circle

So here we have two different entities, but with comparable visual requirements:

1) a sculpture for a location where the viewer has to grasp the totality of the form – in this case, in the few seconds that it takes to approach and circumnavigate the traffic circle
2) and an icon which needs to possess a quality which makes it legible/recognizable at at first sight. Its reference must be comprehensible. An icon which is too complex, and which is not centered around one single idea or meaning, loses the specific power of making a statement – just like a sculpture in a situation where the possibility of observation is short lived.

In this respect there are the same prerequisites for both. In the case of a sculpture on a traffic circle, the peculiar thing is that (aside from people on foot who can be anywhere in the vicinity, parking their car for instance) it is approached from a limited number of directions – driving on the roads leading to the sculpture, one only sees its projection – its silhouette if you will; and in the case of this sculpture it is a two dimensional – a geometric shape. And only when you access the traffic circle the sculpture unveils itself – in a counter clockwise fashion – as a full three dimensional object. During the approach it projects itself as a more or less two dimensional form.

I inserted two identical animations above to show two different projections simultaneously (because of a small
time-lapse between the loading sequences) otherwise, hold one still for a moment.

The sculpture, in the animations above, is seen from a higher point of view. But when one views it while approaching it frontally on one of the roads, it will project itself according to the position in which it has been installed. In one case it will show itself as an ellipse, gradually revealing the distance between the ends of the curves, marked by the horizontal connection between them.

An iconic sculpture for El Paso – UTEP.

 But when, another time, it is approached from a perpendicular direction, the viewer is in for a surprise.



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