Client: Student Recreatin Center
Location: Big Rapids, MI, United States
Completion date: 2015
Artwork budget: $68,000
RL BARNUM STUDIOS
Welding Engineering Tech.
Continuous Game is one of multiple sculpture components that completed my statement for a Student Recreation Center at a University. The total Rec Center was quite large with multiple high activity rooms challenging public art for any possible visual attention. Continuous Game is essentially the same three players playing a version of playground basketball over and over again in a 55’ long environment. Continuous Game is visually backed up with four sculptures in a larger open court area. These four sculptures titled Swimming. Aerobics, Climbing and Running are hanging high above the courts in the ceiling support trusses.
Continuous Game and its supporting four sculpture elements hanging high in the court area ceiling trusses suggest in graphic flat plate form the lively and contagious energy of a University Recreation Center. Higher Education Recreation Centers by my research are one of the most popular and highly used facilities on most campuses. This Rec Center facility is not used for University level sports but for lack of a better definition is used for better health. Presence and for the love of games and competition. Color in the form of auto acrylic paints were required to have any chance for this large-scale athletic sculpture environment to get any view or notice. Energy and an implied movement was critical as was a hanging design that presented these sculptures as floating in air. It was also critical that these sculptures regardless of site in the Rec Center needed to be very durable and strong. Balls flying in all directions for 18 hours a day is difficult to predict. It was also critical in highly active areas that this Rec Center Art be safe, require almost zero maintenance and be easy to move if required.
Anytime an artist is dealing with a university then I can assure their will be a fair number of voices and areas involved. This project required multiple conversations/meetings with university administrators especially Rec Center staff and administration as well as the campus physical plant and campus architects. The Rec Center was up and running when the art was ready to install so timing and logistics were a critical factor. For safety reasons I probably overkilled the size, bearing weight for the hanging support multiple strand stainless steel wires however balls flying in at all speeds, and directions are hard to predict for impact potential. However smaller or thinner wires would have enhanced my floating look feature a bit more. The sculptures are created out of ¼” mild steel and were all free hand cut with a hand held plasma cutter. All my public art is done under my hand with competent support labor. I never use outside fabricators.
Continuous Game along with the Swimming, Running, Aerobics and Climbing are essential human energy redefined in hard cold flat plates of steel. Bright color and organic form married into severe and pragmatic geometric architecture completes a design of sculptures I call Stained Glass.