Public Art Proposals: The Crest and the Crown (LID), Columnulus (LID) and Looking + Seeing (Besant)
Earlier this year we asked Alberta artists to submit their most innovative proposals for 3 public art sites cSPACE King Edward: the Grand Historic Entranceway (site 1), the Contemporary Main Entrance (site 2) and the Art Park (site 3). The public art call drew in submissions from a wide breadth of Alberta artists, from young and funky to internationally renowned. In July the proposals were narrowed down to a shortlist of 10 finalists and the only one thing the finalists’ concepts share is that each approached the historic space and our aspirations as an arts hub in thought-provoking and unexpected ways.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be profiling the artists and teams and their proposals on our blog and in social. And we’re counting down the days until when we will be announcing the winning proposals for the 3 art sites. So stayed tuned to our blog and Facebook page for that exciting news!
Meet The Laboratory for Integrative Design (LID)
The Laboratory for Integrative Design (LID) is an experimental, integrative art group where artists, designers and architects collaborate to design and produce community engaged projects.
Jason S. Johnson, Matthew Parker & Guy Garner, three members of LID, have teamed up to propose two unique concepts for the public art sites at cSPACE King Edward. Shortlisted for their innovative design and collaborative approach in their proposals for the Grand Historic Entranceway and the exterior Art Park, their concepts are inspiring representations of the work that LID explores.
Grand Historical Entrance: The Crest and The Crown
LID’s proposal for the Grand Historical Entrance considers both materials and icons from the historical King Edwards school. Dubbed The Crest and The Crown, the concept explores the use of the wood and brass found throughout the school’s original design, to reference the school crest and the royal associations with the school.
The Crest: The design for the the crest would be created through a process of geometric repetition of the original crests and crowns found in the collection of yearbooks then carved from wood, accented with brass and floated above the entry way stairs in an engraved translucent ceiling.
The Crown: Glowing and suspended in the smaller vestibule of the entry way, the crown piece is visible from the street and interior.
And together, the crest and the crown link the historical icons of the King Edward School and the newly created icons of the newly formed arts hub.
Art Park Exterior: Columnulus
Columnulus, LID’s proposal for the art park exterior site, is comprised of four large pedestals that are used as a viewpoints of the architectural features of the building’s south facade. These architectural characteristics from the building’s past are mapped onto 12’ – 15’ columns and given a new reading or meaning by the process of inflating or clouding the forms.
Columnulus is in a constant state of flux, weathering through time and taking on varied characteristics through the seasons; Thickened by snow in winter, and absorbing and releasing heat in the summer. Like clouds they can be read in an ever shifting way based on the experiences and perceptions of the viewer and not the actual characteristics of the figures, Columnulus can be viewed differently based on lighting, shadows, time of day and people’s own perceptions.
Meet Derek Michael Besant
Derek Besant is an award winning Calgary-based and internationally shown Canadian artist. He has a rich local history and deep ties to the Calgary community, earning his BFA Honours from the University of Calgary, working as an Exhibitions Designer at The Glenbow Museum and has been teaching in the Drawing / Fine Arts Department at Alberta College of Art and Design for the past thirty years.
His public art can be seen all over Canada but Calgarians will best recognize his extensive public works including HOMAGE at Mount Royal University (iconic six-metre tall balancing-chairs ), and the temporary installation of I AM THE RIVER depicting 50 Calgarians submerged into the waters of the Bow. Besant’s artworks often deal with “themes of memory, language and the body as a metaphor” (credit, artist’s website).
Contemporary Main Entrance: Looking + Seeing
Besant’s visually engaging and provocative proposal titled LOOKING + SEEING for the Contemporary Main Entrance is recognized for its understanding of the architectural dynamics of the site and its conceptual grounds for the community’s engagement and creating an experience for viewers.
Inspired in part by the Roman god Janus who guards the threshold or doorway and is personified as a figure with two faces, to look both inward and outward, Besant would utilize advanced lenticular printing technology (where magnifying lenses are used to print images with an illusion of depth and the ability to change or move as the image is viewed from different angles) to photograph 22 head & shoulder shots of members of the community, reconstructing their faces so they appear to “shift” their gazes, up, down or sideways as dictated by the ascension and decisions of the stairway. Essentially, these faces will accompany viewers as they move up and down the stairwell, creating a visual participatory engagement aligned to the viewer’s own rate, pace and direction of movement. In breath-taking scale, with qualities of both real and abstract, and with deceptive simplicity, the work both reveals and conceals. When a head is looking straight directly perpendicular to the viewer, a single word will be imposed to optically “float” in front of the face. Each word would be a simple triggering device of the human psyche, tapping into people’s subconscious depending on their internalized thoughts.