February 12, 2008
Poams in the Dude
Last night during class we were asked to go find a poam as it existed in its normal surroundings. When first asked to do this I was a little concerned, especially with my prior feelings of the Duderstadt Center. Mostly what I remember it for is late nights my freshman and sophomore years working on projects all night, and leaving when the sun came up - not a good memory to have. As I sat think though, and started to wander to find something that piqued my interest and fit the description, a I remembered a discovery that I had passed by so many times, and finally just recently noticed. Something that anyone (excluding those who are visually impaired to the point of not having a field of vision) who has walked through the Duderstadt Center (at least through the lobby) has seen is Euclid's Comet, a creation by Dorothea Rockburn. I say that anyone has seen this because even if you have not looked directly at this work, you have at one time at least seen it through your periphery. In four years at the University, it was not until the fall semester that I finally noticed, separate from its surroundings, Euclid's Comet. So many thoughts first came to mind when I noticed it. Had this always been here, and I had never noticed it or was it something that had just recently been commissioned and completed? A plaque on the wall describes that it was created in 1996, shortly after the actual building. So why had I not noticed it until now? The poam is not small, as described in the website it stretches 80 ft and the entirety cannot be view from one spot. Euclid's Comet is divided by the elevator that rises in the middle of the Dude. So many aspects of the poam appeal to me. For myself I have been realizing that poams appeal to me more on a visual and audible level. I don't know what it is that drives this fascination in me, but I love most things musical, and can be swept away by the right visually appealing work. Euclid's comet does a wonderful job of utilizing its surroundings. It is framed in a perfect manner. It serves as a barrier between the end of the wall and the beginning of the open air space that makes the Duderstadt such a unique building. Much of the space in the building is unutilized, and the roof is mostly glass panels. The effect of leaving this much space open creates the illusion that the building is much bigger than the already large building that it is. The poam also seems to draaaaaaag on the length of the building, enhancing our perception that the building is much larger than it is, that it cannot be taken in at once. The colors that are used for this are also very unique. When a comet is thought of, I know that I necessarily do not think of one color or another, but more of very bright colors that are associated with our visual perception of the wavelengths that stars and objects burning is space emit. The colors that are used are dynamic enough to give us this burning perception, and although the walls of the Dude are white, the back drop is dark enough to give a feeling of the comet being in space and the distinction between the colors gives us a frame of reference to make the comet something we are able to relate to.
Posing a question
Because Euclid's Comet was something that I had just found, I had no problem asking questions about it, and people's perception as a work of art, as a poam, and even their knowledge of its existence. I was only able to disturb two different people from their studying, but neither had previously noticed the poam. Both had a difficult time imagining Euclid's Comet as a poam, even after I tried to give my best definition of what a poam was. This made me consider that while Dorothea had the intention of the poam fitting in and being deceptively 'unsee' by its use as a frame for the transition, maybe she did too good of a job hiding it so that people did not notice it. Once I came to this conclusion, it was really fascinating. This moment was probably the first time that I was truly able to appreciate the criticism of a work of art. It has always been so hard for me to understand how anyone could critique a piece of art, mostly because I have previously lacked the necessary tools to see a work of art, or a poam, in the correct light. At no previous time was I able to look for the framing, look for the conformations and the different perceptions from different angles. To see this work from a different angle click here. Finally, given these tools, it was apparent to me how pieces of art, and poams in kind, can be looked at with the rules of measure in mind, to gauge a sense of the intended purpose, the tricks the creator used to carry out this goals, and any possible unintended consequences that the creator stumbled upon while in the process of making their work. This is all that I have for now, possibly more to come later . . .
Posted by ndjames at February 12, 2008 10:20 AM