Monday, July 20, 2009

12-foot omphalos helps tell a story

Last week, I wrote a post about storytelling in unique media - here's another example.

Even public art can inspire stories.

Picture the sculpture, "Cloud Gate," by Anish Kapoor in Chicago’s Millennium Park. The sculpture is shaped like an ellipse, and its legume-like appearance has caused it to be nicknamed The Bean. It is made of 168 highly polished stainless steel plates, and stands at 33 feet high, 66 feet long, and 42 feet wide, weighing 110 tons.

From a distance it could be mistaken for a huge drop of mercury, while up close its highly reflective surface captures and transforms the skyline, the downtown cityscape and even the passers-by into a wonderfully warped new vista. The 12-foot underbelly is called the “omphalos” or navel and multiplies reflections in a vortex. The artist, Anish Kapoor, has referred to the sculpture as “a gate to Chicago, a poetic idea about the city it reflects.”

"What I wanted to do in Millennium Park is make something that would engage the Chicago skyline…so that one will see the clouds kind of floating in, with those very tall buildings reflected in the work. And then, since it is in the form of a gate, the participant, the viewer, will be able to enter into this very deep chamber that does, in a way, the same thing to one's reflection as the exterior of the piece is doing to the reflection of the city around," Kapoor said. "I hope what I have done is make a serious work, which deals with serious questions about form, public space and an object in space. You can capture the popular imagination and hold other points of interest, but that is not what I set out to do, although there is inevitably a certain spectacular in an object like this."

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