Embark

Submitted by Kent Hutchison

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Client: City of Green Bay in partnership with Wisconsin Public Service

Location: Green Bay, WI, United States

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $100,000

Project Team

Artist

Kent Hutchison

Hutchison Art & Design LLC

Mechanical Engineer

Todd Hanson

Infinity Mechanical

Structural Engineer

D Garow

True Wind Engineering

Overview

Embark Is a large-scale kinetic freestanding sculpture in the heart of Green Bay Wisconsin. The sculpture has a dynamic and playful kinetic performance intended to draw the viewer in but also cause the viewer to step lightly. Embark’s five massive welded aluminum sails are held seamlessly together through intricate and robust stainless steel bearing and shaft assemblages. The sculpture is held aloft by a 10 foot 18 inch wide pedestal that is fastened to an immense 8 ton foundation. The sculpture’s completion was made a reality through the intense collaborative efforts of multiple engineers and artists.
Embark’s design loosley portrays the elegance of a schooner sailing vessel that, when energized by the wind, appears to exist in a circular state of breaking apart then reassembling again. This turbulent relationship between elegance and destruction speaks to the arrival of French colonialists along the fox river.
The character of each day is reflected in the movements of Embark. On some days the movement is little to none and on others it appears as though the sculpture will take flight. Residents who live in the area have remarked that their mood often aligns with the kinetic nature of Embark.

Goals

The city of Green Bay wanted to Commission in artwork that would reflect Green Bay's cultural and historical profile. The work would need to tell a story regarding significant events that transpired in that region. It was highly important that a relevant and cohesive message was conveyed through the selected artwork.

Process

Embark required a tremendous amount of interdisciplinary collaboration. As a fabricating artist with 15 years of experience I've had my fair share of creating innovative and unique solutions butThis project would require far more than I was capable of. I was able to connect with Infinity Mechanical Engineering out of De Pere Wisconsin. The CEO took Keen interest in the project and allocated one of their top engineers to help create a design that would accommodate the aesthetic look and kinetic performance that I envisioned. That engineer was Todd Hanson. Hundreds of hours went into the conception of his engineering design which proved to be beyond exceptional. Through the use of CAD programming, precision laser and waterjet cutting, steel machining and state of the art metal fabricating equipment we were able to assemble and complete Embark.
Embark’s foundation alone took another major collaborative effort. Structural engineers were hired to design an 8 ton reinforced foundation. A component that came with a hefty price tag of $29,000 due to the extensive efforts required by the contractor hired to build it.
All said and done there were around two dozen people who played a role in conceiving, planning, fabricating and installing Embark.