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Client: Olive Harvey College

Location: Chicago, IL, United States

Completion date: 2020

Project Team

Artist

Barbara Cooper

Installation

Methods & Materials

Fabricator

Vector Custom Fabricating

Overview

by Barbara Cooper – Perforated stainless steel sheeting riveted together with a nod toward the industrial are juxtaposed with the warmth of the flowing forms of laminated oak veneer. The steel has been formed into irregularly shaped cells, moving between the wooden sides of the piece, just as people move through a system or packages progress along a conveyor belt.

This building serves the transportation, distribution, and logistics (TDL) industry whose goal involves finding simple and elegant solutions for the complex movement by humans and objects through time and space. Conveyor is intended as an expression of movement as it oscillates down the hallway between the classrooms on one side of the hall and the lab/shop situations on the other side of the hall.

Olive-Harvey strives to offer affordable education and training to its students, from basic through high-level skill acquisition options. In the two serpentine forms, Conveyor is shallow in profile. The central vortex of the piece, however, goes both deep and broad, referencing the depth and breadth that students can achieve in their studies. The vortex alludes to the possibility of the cells in the serpentine form exploding into something much larger and complex.

Goals

The piece is intended to provide both a way finder from the building’s entry doors into the heart of the building, as well as a metaphor for the goal of building community as individuals move temporally and spatially together through their lives and along their educational and career paths. As with the experience of education, Conveyor changes in perspective as it is seen from underneath on the first floor, along its expanse on the second-floor balconies at either end of the building, or through the vertical windows in the offices lining the second floor.