Situate Nought (2009)

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Function

 

Northern Lens - View South from the Rail Station

 

This lens will allow people in front of the Rail Station to see in dramatic close-up the faces of people a hundred meters distant at the base of the great arch talking and looking toward the stars. From the same position they will look up a hundred feet to the top of the knotted steel element where the distant star lens points toward the Southern Cross. Beyond they will see Forrest Place framed with architectural clarity and focus by the sculpture.

 

Central Lenses – Forrest Place

 

This position utilizes two lenses, one looking up and one looking both South across the plaza toward Murray Street and North toward the train station.

 

The central ground position is the raison d’etre for the sculpture. It is intended to facilitate spontaneous gatherings of people in which talk of the stars or the intensity of sky color seen through the window above will mix naturally with comments of every sort on the passing parade of life. This lens because of its central position will be able to look at the other two ground lenses providing people on either side with maximal close-up views.

 

The proximal overhead lens will function as a sculpture and, because of its perfect alignment with the “window” lens above, as an actual astronomical telescope. This element is homage to Christiaan Huygens’ 1675 Aerial Telescope, a remarkable example of thinking outside the tube. Faced with the technical limitations of constructing and stabilizing a one hundred and fifty meter tube to increase the telescope’s magnification he simply got rid of the tube and mounted his second lens on a nearby building. The difference in our application is that a small group of people will be able to view the stars together. 

 

Southern Lens - View North toward the Rail Station

 

The most southerly lens will have all of the optical qualities and physical presence of the other two. Since it is most distanced from the central position it also offers the most dramatic magnification possibilities. Seen with the naked eye, people near the main lens will be almost unrecognizable. As their images jump into view on the face of the lens there will be an interesting disconnect between the images seen and the unrelated sounds heard in the immediate vicinity. 

 

Above and beyond – The main structure

 

The enormous physical presence of the sculpture will be mediated by the visual lightness, elegance and tactile quality of the burnished steel surface. As described earlier the lower portion of the legs will be geo-thermally cooled. More bridge than arch the sculpture connects earth to sky and past to present. Two legs, four meters wide and two meters in depth at the base, taper and twist gradually as they stretch upward over twenty meters. At this point the legs begin a dramatic rotation creating a coiling circular window nearly six meters in diameter and isolating a magnificent view of the southern sky. Set within this, like an invisible jewel is the most important and powerful of the lenses. The precise siting of the sculpture and the adjustment of its lenses will be carried out in consultation with an astronomer and the Master Lens Optician.

 

View traveling East or West along Wellington

 

From some distance away traffic moving in either direction along Wellington will have dramatic views of the broad side of the northernmost leg arcing diagonally upward against the backdrop of the existing corner buildings. That these two buildings are so strikingly distinct from each other will give passersby equally different views. In the few seconds it takes to approach and pass through the intersection there will be a compelling enough presentation of sun on steel to draw the driver back to Forrest place as a pedestrian. Fully programmable indirect lighting will be inset within the narrow edges of the entire structure.

 

 

lens high above and through it to the Southern Cross and the distant past. At ground level a turn of the head will reveal another lens the size of a home theatre screen. It is one of three placed in line at hundred meter intervals. Together they create a functioning horizontal telescope for which Forrest Place is the viewing field. The subject? The people of Perth - as they are. With only the aid of these lenses a person a hundred meters away, in the distant present, will appear to the viewer as close enough to touch; no wires, no electronics, no batteries. As people pass back and forth across the line of view their images will move in and out of focus in a chaotic display of color and movement. Occasionally during a fleeting, clear view between the perfectly aligned lenses, there will be a freeze-frame moment of focus and the realization that if we try to see, to understand others perhaps they will do the same. At such times one may sense that we are all closer, more alike than we appear to be. To be able to consider our place in the crowd and in the universe in the same instant is a gift we share with no other species and one we are learning to use to greater effect. This sculpture reminds us of the miracle of existence and the active role we must play in its preservation.window on the sky. In the evening groups of people standing beneath the sculpture will look up through a large, freestanding proximal lens just overhead to the windowWe imagine a sculpture that starts a dozen meters beneath Forrest Place. As it appears at the surface it’s two elegant legs thrust upward more than twenty meters before making a seamless connection with a six-meter diameter steel loop, the setting for a jewel-like lens. Angled toward the crowds below this perfect glass is their

 

Three integrated systems gain life, meaning and resolution from the dynamic interaction of people.

 

Below surface

 

In addition to the below ground foundations necessary to bear the weight and loading of the sculpture there is an active element which uses geothermal heat pumps and cooling technology and a solar assisted energy source. Its purpose is to cool the air in a three-meter high chamber located inside each leg. At even twenty degrees below the air temperatures outside the sculpture, the walls will be cool to the touch and provide a shaded oasis in the summer heat.

 

- The earth lensesAt surface

 

An array of three individual lenses designed and constructed specifically for this project by an internationally renowned astronomical lens optician.

 

Description

 

Measuring one meter in diameter each lens will be mounted within a double bezel of black chromium and burnished stainless steel. The resulting free-standing disk just over three meters in diameter will stand on a single column of the same material. The focal points will be optimized to put a perfectly focused near life-size image on each television size lens. Images can be seen from/on either side.

 

Since the mounted lenses will be beautiful objects of discussion on their own it is expected that they will also bring interest to the surroundings in each location. At night each of these sculptures will have a subtle ring of light around its circumference. The lenses will be constructed and mounted so that there is no possibility of sunlight causing harm or injury to the public.

 

 

 

 

The sculpture’s name derives from the myriad associations with the mathematical concept of zero without which we could not express even the simplest of scientific theories. It is the foundation of the near universal language of computers and in that sense is a paradigm of the power of the human mind. Nought is the visual, physical and conceptual basis for the sculpture and arguably for the exciting and immensely challenging times in which we live.

 

Nought Situate

 

Look outward to the stars and inward to our collective soul.

 

Look outward to the stars and inward to our collective soul.

The sculpture’s name derives from the myriad associations with the mathematical concept of zero without which we could not express even the simplest of scientific theories. It is the foundation of the near universal language of computers and in that sense is a paradigm of the power of the human mind. Nought is the visual, physical and conceptual basis for the sculpture and arguably for the exciting and immensely challenging times in which we live.