24 Tubes

Submitted by Joe Penland

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Client: State of Utah Public Art Program

Location: Ephraim, UT, United States

Completion date: 2017

Artwork budget: $125,000

Project Team

Artist

Joe Pentland

Architect

John Oderda

VCBO

Client

Snow College

Overview

24 Tubes is a suspended sculpture consisting of 24 bright red aluminum tubes that undulate gently across the space, creating rippling waves and resolving into complex, interwoven patterns with subtly reflected ambient light and shadow. Each tube is attached to two motor driven pulleys, one on either end of the tube. A motion control system conducts the synchronized movement of all 48 pulleys, autonomously selecting and running one of over 150 kinetic and still patterns. In a college science setting, the motors/pulleys are left exposed to allow viewers a visual understanding of the system design.

Goals

Snow College was seeking a dynamic artwork to be suspended in the atrium of its new Science Building. The College’s goal for the work was to encourage individuals to engage directly and tangibly with it so that they would become part of the inspiration themselves and be left with a sense of awe. As 24 Tubes continually reveals new patterns and shapes, it visually represents the excitement of scientific discovery and actively engages the viewer in the journey. Students and faculty have the opportunity to interact with the sculpture by inputting their own patterns or by taking a programming course to explore the full range of pattern possibilities. The interactive features encourage viewers to create their own pattern sequences and to discover new and pleasing formations and alignments.

Process

The project was a collaboration with the State of Utah and the College, the architect, the building contractor and the artist. The sculpture was designed specifically for the proposed new atrium and was modified as the building progressed to meet changes to the initial design.