Client: Landmarks, the Public Art Program of The University of Texas at Austin
Location: Austin, TX, United States
Completion date: 2022
Artwork budget: $1,402,985
Curator and Director
The Beck Group
Patrick Sheehy Fine Art Services
UT Capital Planning and Construction
Commissioned by Landmarks for the Cockrell School of Engineering, “C-010106” is a site-specific work by artist Sarah Oppenheimer. The installation alters the built environment and shifts viewers’ frame of spatial reference.
Sited at opposite ends of a pedestrian footbridge connecting two buildings on the Engineering campus, “C-010106” is a pair of apparatuses, each composed of four planes of glass. Within each form, a pair of diagonal reflective glass panes are sandwiched between a pair of vertical glass sheets. At the intersection of the four panes, the glass passes through an incision in the surface of the bridge, creating unexpected views: pedestrians on top of the bridge are able to see the reflections of those underneath, and vice versa.
Pushing the boundaries between sculpture and architecture, Oppenheimer questions the limits of both mediums, upending our experience of inside and out, and inverting our sense of what is near and far. By reorienting the spaces we inhabit, the artist sets out to reconfigure the way we see and are seen.
With a practice that bridges engineering, architecture, and art, Sarah Oppenheimer was the ideal artist for this commission. "C-010106" reflects the multifaceted activity within the College of Engineering and serves as a curricular tool for disciplines across campus.
Landmarks' collaboration with the architects and engineers designing the new building and pedestrian bridge began in the early stages of the project. Oppenheimer's work was considered in tandem with the overall scheme of the project and site. While integrated within the bridge itself, it was important to Oppenheimer that the forms were distinct from the environment around them, creating their own impact and sense of space.
By placing the glass forms on the north/south and east/west axis of the bridge, Oppenheimer creates a “switch” that interrupts the normal flow of traffic and our habitual ways of movement. This alteration invites us to embrace observation and encourages unexpected social interactions. As a result, "C-010106" heightens awareness of the shifting light, sound, and seasons that surround us and introduces new relationships between passersby.