(Un)still Life With Spoked Wheels, parts 1 and 2, Chancellor Rapid Transit Station

Submitted by Warren Carther

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Client: The Winnipeg Arts Council

Location: Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Completion date: 2020

Project Team

Client

Alexis Kinlock

The Winnipeg Arts Council

Structural Engineer

Jon Reid

Wolfrom Engineering Ltd.

Steel fabricator

Bob Brown

State Craft Architectural Fabricators

Glass fabricators

Carther Studio Team

Carther Studio

Lighting designer

Blaine Komatich

Komatich Lighting Design

Installation Lead

Marco Gallo

0812 Building Solutions

Overview

Chancellor Rapid Transit Station in Winnipeg, Canada, (Un)still Life with Spoked Wheels, has 2 parts. Pt.1 at the entry plaza (8ft. x 7ft. x 3ft.) and pt.2 at the base of a nearby rapid transit overpass (25ft. x 8ft. x 3ft.).
The glass and corten steel sculptures represent the iconic Red River cart, making a connection between a historic mode of transportation and a modern one.
The historic carts with their distinctive large spoked wheels, were designed and utilized by the Métis people to transport furs from Winnipeg to St. Paul, Minnesota.
The rust of the corten steel creates a link to the past. Glass, has exceptional optical qualities and a unique ability to modulate light and color.
Within the illuminated glass cylinders are color shifting dichroic film and moiré patterns. The dichroic film and moiré patterns create a perception of movement. This illusion is triggered by viewing them from different angles. The spoked wheel patterns appear to rotate, while an infinity symbol emerges from the center. The infinity symbol has long been used by the Métis people to represent themselves.
The glass cylinders are lit from within with LEDs. Viewers see colorful moiré effects. During the day, it reflects back certain colors. As night falls and the light changes, new colors appear.

Goals

The Red River cart was a major Métis innovation in transportation. The wheels of the cart were very large so they could roll easily over impediments and were readily removed when rivers had to be forged; effectively transforming the cart into a barge. The work explores this historic mode of transportation while being aware of the site’s current use for rapid transit.
Specific goals:
To fit the context by utilizing the spoked wheel as a metaphor for both Métis culture and a modern rapid transit system.
To honor the community and embody the spirit of the Métis. Métis people are of mixed indigenous and European ancestry. They have too frequently been undervalued on their own land. This piece seeks to highlight their innovation, creativity and determination.
To stimulate the senses and arouse curiosity. The moiré patterns create a visual perception of movement within the stationary sculptures. This illusion is triggered by the viewers own movement and encourages them to playfully interact with the art.
To bring viewers a new experience of the two sites united with a singular concept, while responding to each with a slightly different approach.
To attract attention through a unique physical presence and start a conversation about what it is, what it represents and why it is there

Process

Research the site and learn its history. Consult with the community.

Meet with the Winnipeg Arts Council to discuss the context. Meet with city planners and landscape designers.

Form the concept and create drawings

Work with digital 3-D modeler Evan Kallusky to create an interactive digital 3-D model of the sculptures and a working representation of the effects created by the dichroic glass and moiré patterns

Meet with Winnipeg Art council and stake holders to make a final presentation of the project

Select fabricators and collaborators:

Engineer – Jon Reid of Wolfrom Engineering Ltd.
Steel fabricators - State Craft Architectural Fabricators
Glass creation - Carther Studio team, Warren Carther, Dan Brown, Paul Gabrielle and Gareth Briggs
Lighting design – Blaine Komatich
Installers – Marco Gallo and 0812 Building Solutions

Create shop drawings

Have regular scheduled meetings with Winnipeg Arts Council and stake holders to discuss progress

Coordinate the steel fabrication and custom built LED panels with the creation of the glass. All processes overseen by Warren Carther

All collaborators begin the fabrication of various elements

Installation of pt.1 on the station plaza, March, 2020

Installation of pt.2 at the rapid transit overpass, July, 2020

Additional Information

The sculptures are highly interactive, particularly at the station plaza. Those that encounter the pieces are drawn in to have a closer look. They can playfully engage with the works looking at them from different angles and observing the optical effects. Looking deep into the glass cylinders, viewers we will see colorful moiré effects that change with different angles of view. Each of the glass cylinders is positioned to be at a height for various sized humans to be able to peer inside the glass components. During the day, the dichroic glass is in reflective mode and reflects back colorful diaphanous echoes of themselves laid over the spoked wheel image. The colors transition throughout the day and night and in various types of weather. The sculpture for the overpass is viewed from a different perspective. It is visible while passing by on bicycle or on foot but many viewers will see it as they pass by in vehicles. To address this, the work is large and bold to be viewed from a distance. It needed to be able to engage viewers while not being too distracting to drivers.