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Proposal for City of Mississauga, Ontario Roundabout Pulbic Art Project


Trajectory Imagined


Trajectory - the path a moving object follows through space as a function of time, The proposed (40’ tall by 12’ wide) sculpture is oriented East/West facing the entrance to the new building with edges facing North and South along Duke of York Blvd. The transit of the sun would light the front (11’ wide) and back (12’ wide), neither of which faces directly into traffic. The photomontages accurately show the effect of sunlight on the burnished steel and the significant visual presence of the sculpture from several blocks distant. The montage looking south shows the sculpture framed precisely between two distant towers.  Closer, pedestrians will see animated images of the ebb and flow of traffic reflected upward to the underside of the sculpture’s first curve twenty feet above; flickering light/shadow drawings of cars and people approaching, traversing and leaving the roundabout and the campus. Aspirations and accomplishments, endings and beginnings flash across the sculpture.


In spite of its size the new Sheridan building has a lightness and humanity of scale. If the other buildings in the area are about consuming, regulating, storing and serving people on a grand scale this one is about individuals becoming, moving out of traffic along a path or trajectory they alone define. The intent of the piece is to express life trajectories metaphorically and to find form that could be a positive visual foil for the new building and a formal complement to its sensitive, exterior of metal and glass.


The blue disk suggests, goals, dreams and, being located forty feet overhead, aspirations. Whereas the colour of the burnished stainless steel surface changes constantly (bluish, grey, reddish gold) because it reflects light, the colour of the glass changes only in intensity because it transmits light. The cobalt blue will be nearly transparent in full sun, opaque under cloud cover. At night a light, mounted on the roof of the new building, will illuminate the west side of the glass so that the east side will appear as a glowing blue moon, a prize hanging in sky-like shadow above the roundabout.


About eight feet below the glass is a twenty-five foot long arrow/dart/quill, piercing the sculpture just short of its intended target. It will flex and move perceptibly in the wind. This is not a weapon but an implement in a display or test of skill. Though the glass goal above remains pristine and perfect there is no sense of failure. We are, nonetheless, left to wonder what it would take to achieve it and at what cost for it would seem the correct trajectory of the well-thrown dart would mean the destruction of the disk.  If the arrow is that aspect of our nature that moves us to seek knowledge or achieve new goals and the disk is the prize our course of action is our trajectory.


Trajectory imagined - the path a person seeks in life as a function of energy, time and imagination, to accommodate the manhole and The sculpture will be made of formed T304B SS fabricated over an interior I-beam structure, welded to a 1” steel base plate. (design to be approved by structural engineers) Following completion of welding and finishing processes the sculpture will be passivated and neutralized to maximize corrosion resistance of the stainless steel. This will make maintenance a simple washing task every few years, required only to remove surface dirt caused by traffic. Graffiti can be removed easily with appropriate solvents. The entire surface will be randomly brushed to maximize the sparkle of stainless and minimize the likelihood of brilliant reflection. My two oldest public sculptures (Essex Continuum, 1974, Justice, 1985) remain in excellent condition with no evidence of corrosion, deterioration or other discolouration. Justice is located only a few metres from a major intersection and has never caused traffic problems as a consequence of light reflection. Transported by low bed truck to the site the finished sculpture will require a single crane to lift and hold it while it is secured using an approved bolt system. There will be no further work required on site. The installation could be accomplished during low traffic hours. The sculpture will be locatedthe mediation of space between the sculpture and the road must be future collaboration between the landscape architects and the artist.


Small macquette – Plume – not part of the Roundabout submission but included here for consideration. I have included a small model and photomontage of a sculpture that could be placed on the plaza outside the main entrance to the new building. The piece makes a connection between the students/faculty and the roundabout sculpture - the college as it connects to the world. The first shaft has missed its target. It is for the next person through the door to seize their opportunity, focus on the blue disk and imagine the trajectory necessary to send this giant Plume skyward.