Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tecotosh

Tecotosh

Tecotosh

A few photos of "TECOTOSH", the new-ish large sculpture outside the front entrance of PSU's new-ish CS/Engineering building. It occurred to me recently that I hadn't posted any pics of it or said anything about it here, even though it's in my general neighborhood and it's been around for about a year now. So I figured it was overdue, plus I really needed some new local photo fodder -- Lovejoy Fountain is still not up and running this year, and lately I've gotten sort of bored with Rusting Chunks #5.

Tecotosh

So the artist's website describes it thusly:


This sculpture is a graphic illustration of four basic engineering principles: tension, compression, torsion, and shear. Its title, "TECOTOSH", is composed of the first two letters of each of those terms, and its structure is intentionally provocative from an engineering standpoint.


Now that's refreshingly straightforward. I like it. When I first saw the name I was afraid it was some sort of Northwest tribal mumbo-jumbo thing, but no, it's an acronym. All engineers love acronyms. Even lowly software "engineers" such as myself love acronyms. Yay, acronyms!

Tecotosh

I probably ought to have done the title of this post in all caps, the name being an acronym and all. That still feels like shouting, acronym or no, so I didn't, but it seemed like it was worth pointing out. I've been called lots of names over the years, but so far nobody's called me "insufficiently pedantic", that I'm aware of. Not to my face, at any rate.

Tecotosh

The aforementioned basic engineering concepts are explained somewhat simply here and here. The second link uses Flash, even. So TECOTOSH illustrates four of the five fundamental engineering loads, the fifth being "bending". The artist probably could've worked some bending into it too, but that would've made for an even longer and more unpronounceable acronym.

Tecotosh

While we're being pedantic -- ok, while I'm being pedantic -- there's small sign next to TECOTOSH indicating the surrounding mini-plaza is officially known as "Gerding Edlen Development Plaza". I don't know if it counts as a park, exactly, but it is a public space with a name. So therefore I suppose this post is technically part of my semi-occasional parks-and-public-spaces series, if anyone's keeping score at home. I say "technically" because I've never seen anyone use this name to refer to the place. No references to the name anywhere on the interwebs, so I suppose this post will be the first, for whatever that's worth. Not that I exactly plan to use the name either. I can't really see myself putting the name in a post title, it being a company name and all.

I mean, I suppose the name is understandable, as the company was a major donor to the engineering building, in addition to working on the project. Part of their work on the project involved a cool geothermal well system that helps heat and cool the building. Naturally, the building as a whole is fully LEED-o-licious and sustainable and so forth, since that stuff is tres chic right now.

In any case, there's not much else to "Gerding Edlen Development Plaza" besides TECOTOSH itself. The usual modern concrete bits and native(?) grasses. It's probably sustainable too, or something.

Incidentally, it must be great to be in the native grass business these days. Everyone wants native grasses, but they don't want to go dig up and transplant their own native grasses from a nearby field or whatever. I'm not sure why, but it simply isn't done. Instead they pay you, and they probably pay you handsomely, because anything green and sustainable and LEED-o-licious is exorbitantly expensive. Them's the rules. So they pay you, and you go to a nearby field on their behalf and dig up some native grasses and rake in the dough, and everyone goes home happy.

Tecotosh

Other random bits about TECOTOSH on the interwebs:
  • Photos here and here.
  • It appears on the cover of this brochure from the Oregon Arts Commission.
  • Some PR about it from the university.
  • A story at the Portland Business Journal
  • And a mention in a piece about local glass art. You noticed the glass bits on TECOTOSH, right? They can be kind of hard to see unless it's sunny. Which is a problem, this being Portland and all.
Oh, and the rest of my TECOTOSH photoset is here. FWIW.

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