Client: Florida Art-in-State Buildings Program
Location: Orlando, FL, United States
Completion date: 2013
Artwork budget: $100,000
Public Art Agent
Florida Art-in-State Buildings
University of Florida/ Lake Nona
This integrated sculpture in the Research & Academic Center of the University of Florida/ Lake Nona presents the humanist goals at the center of medical research. Ephemeral color forms suggest abstract puzzle pieces, each inscribed with the lexicon of medical study. Viewed on-axis, a thematic word comes into focus. The artwork extends upward, symbolizing a collaborative hive of research, viewed from the encircling DNA of the staircase. The planes are inscribed with words that reference the characteristics, symptoms, and observations that are a focus of research. Dimensions: 8’W x 54’H x 24’D.
It was our primary goal to infiltrate and build upon the metaphoric potential of the four-story staircase, to articulate our theme about human-centered medical research. To create a fully integrated art-system, we developed and machined clamping mechanisms—like forceps—that attach the planar elements of the artwork to existing handrail components. The ephemeral forms of the artwork are thus suspended within the space—lives held in balance. To more directly involve viewers and underscore human presence, a viewing device—a mirror—reflects a viewer once they are on axial alignment. The reflection of the viewer will also establish the viewer as a symbolic patient, the equivalent of the human being conjured by the intersecting color forms. The viewer is activated as a pictorial actor within the scene.
The staircase was already completed and the building was nearing occupancy, so we worked with the architect’s project manager to refine art-system details and the integration of the artwork into the stair structure. Although we had access to the original architectural plans, we worked with exact site measurements to determine the scale and locations of all artwork elements. We worked directly with key administrators and faculty to develop a list of relevant medical terms. These words are inscribed upon planar forms that reference the human body as a biological system as well as the characteristics, symptoms and observations that are a focus of research. The methods and actions that researchers employ are inscribed on aluminum brackets that extend outward from the stair handrails, suggesting various physical and technological means of research.