Being & Becoming---2011
Starin Residence Hall----University of Wisconsin/ Whitewater
The Wisconsin Arts Board
Activating this four-story sky bridge as a theatrical space, students trigger spotlights that project their shadows upon large-scale icons along with dayglow inscriptions that suggest cycles of mental and physical exhaustion. This public art project optimizes the dramatic potential of the building by activating the sky bridge as a large-scale theatrical space—a proscenium—where the movements of students back-and-forth symbolize the community interactions and individual existence of University life.
The themes of this artwork are the two overarching dualities of University life: The realm of the University as an academic community where the domain of knowledge is a dialogue between the realms of nature and culture; Human interactions and exchanges establish connections between the realms. At the same time, there is the parallel reality of individual existence, the life of a student who balances physical and mental realms, experiencing evolutions of belief, reasoning and feeling while challenging the limits of their physical endurance.
Sunlight illuminates symbols and icons about human relationships to nature in the glass areas on the West façade. Translucent panels on the East façade are inscribed with icons that represent the realm of culture, illuminated by sunlight during daytime and at nighttime by the illumination of the corridors. During the daytime, all of the symbols, icons, and inscriptions are visible to students passing within the corridors and to people viewing the building from the East. The dramatic impact of the artwork is enhanced at night, as the movements of students through the corridors become more evident. As passing students trigger a motion-activated spotlight to project their enlarged shadow onto the corresponding translucent panel, the viewer’s attention is focused upon the student as an individual character. At nighttime, the cycle of the photo-luminescent inscriptions is activated, at first glowing brightly, then, slowly fading overnight, symbolizing mental and physical exhaustion.
Constructed of acrylic panels with sand-blasted/ painted or photo-luminescent icons and motion-activated spotlights.