Environmental Art, Public Art, Sculpture, Sustainable Art
Our Rivers - Our Future
Our Rivers - Our Future
Our Rivers - Our Future
Our Rivers - Our Future
Public Art for Art Spaces & Indiana State University - College of Health and Human Services - Terre Haute, Indiana
Our river - Our future
14’H x 5’ W - Laser Cut Steel with Enamel - Choreographed LED Lighting
Life in Terre Haute is inextricably connected to the Wabash River: Turn to the River is the plan to reconnect downtown Terre Haute to the Wabash River with public art. The inspiration For the sculpture comes from river. The Wabash river mirrors the intricate, interconnection of our bodies to our environmentGeorge Kalamaras former Poet Laureate of Indiana , “I can’t resist the Wabash as a metaphor of free-flowing power and connection—a connection that lends individuality to Indiana by also acting as a border. What a lovely image—Indiana as its own space, yet connected to others by what flows freely.”
RESEARCH: College of Health and Human Services - The Human Ecosystem and Microbiomes
An ecosystem is a community of living things that interact with each other. The human body is an ecosystem of microbes. Every person is a unique ecosystem of microbiome that are key indicators of the health and well being of the individual. Like our fingerprints - there are no two the same, We humans are mostly microbes - over a trillion of them. Microbes outnumber our human cells ten to one. The microbiome is the genetic material of all microbes -bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa that live on and inside the human body.
Microbiomes help digest our food, regulate our immune system, and protect against bacteria that causes disease. They are essentially for human development, immunity and nutrition. Autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia are associated with dysfunction in the microbiome. Disease causing microbes accumulate over time, changing gene activity and metabolic processes. New research indicates that Autoimmune diseases appear not to be passed in families by DNA inheritance but by inheriting the family’s microbiome.
RESEARCH: Back To the River Terre Haute Public Art - The Wabash Ecosystem Diatoms
Like the microbiomes in the human body that are key indicators of the health and wellness of a human, diatoms are single cell organisms that are key indicators of the health and well being of a river system.
Diatoms are single celled micro-algae composed of silica (the essence of glass) and have existed on earth for millions of years and are present in every freshwater and marine habitat. Similar to the human microbiome, each fresh water habitat has its own diatoms that prosper in relation to the conditions of the environment. Because the species diversity and abundance is specific to the nutrient ranges in the water, they are important indicators of water quality. Diatom species are sensitive to their environment, meaning that species abundances can become altered based upon nutrient enrichment or deprivation, increased levels of pH, and amount of sunlight. The species diversity of diatoms is mirrored by their physical diversity and lifestyle. Diatoms come in a variety of shapes and sizes - some are circular, needlelike, and others bent or contorted. Diatoms are responsible for producing about 25 - 40% of all the world’s oxygen and are large carbon sinks (absorbing a tremendous amount of carbon dioxide). The Wabash ecosystem has diatoms that are unique to Terre Haute, as the river runs through the town. With an understanding of how nature is structured and how it functions, we gain an appreciation and love for our environment and begin to realize the interconnectedness of everything - that healthy systems sustain healthy people and vice versa. That each has the responsibility for all.
The Sculpture: Our River - Our Future
The circular laser cut patterns on the Terre Haute sculpture represent the microbiomes and diatoms - single cell organisms that are key indicators of their environments wellbeing. The Diatoms of the Wabash inspired the art patterns that are laser cut into the stainless steel circular patterns. The shape of sculpture simulates the meandering of the river as it flows across the state of Indiana and the circular patterns represent the many single cell organisms reside in the river system.Jeffery Stone and Ellen O’Neil in ISU Biology department have been cataloging and studying the Wabash Diatom community and the impact of pollutants in the watershed effect on the diatoms. Morrison worked with the on selecting the diatoms that are specific to the Wabash river as it flows through Terre Haute.Diatoms have silica (or Glass Like) exterior casing. The circular patterns on the Terre Haute Sculpture are Vitreous enameled (also called porcelain enamel) reflecting the structure a diatom. Vitreous enamel is a material made by fusing powdered glass to a substrate by firing, usually between 1,380 and 1,560 °F. The powder melts, flows, and then hardens to a smooth, durable vitreous coating. The word comes from the Latin vitreum, meaning “glass.
Columbian Home Products is a Terre Haute based company has been a part of American kitchens for nearly 150 years with enamel coated cookware. The kitchenware continues to be manufactured a family owned local business in the Terre Haute, Indiana factory as it has been since 1906. Columbian Home is partnering with Morrison Studios to enamel coat the laser cut panels for the Terre Haute sculpture.
During the day, sunlight shines through laser cut patterns and create dancing shadows on the ground below, enlivening the pedestrian experience. At night the sculpture comes alive in vivid detail. The LED lighting program is written to change colors and have the effect of flowing across a surface or a river current.
The goal of the artwork is to foster public recognition of the native, endemic, protected and endangered biodiversity of the Wabash watershed around Terre Haute and recognize a treasure that’s to be valued and habitats to be protected. A single encounter, the discovery of a plant or animal species in it’s habitat can be one of the most beautiful experiences we can have with nature. Terre Haute has a tremendous opportunity to direct riverfront revitalization efforts that will help to bring rivers and the communities that depend on them back to health This public art project supports that initiative.
Lighting: Rosco X24 X-Effects LED Light Projection System with signature water effect - in white cascading lights that simulates water washing down a wall.The X-Effects LED Projector is IP65 rated for long life and outdoor use. RC4 Wireless Router and an ETC Mosaic Controller.
Installation: Stainless Steel frame seasmlessly bolts into the cement foundation and the architectural cable fastens to the back of the circles and connect via a turnbuckle (2) at the top and (2) at the bottom.