Monday, September 12, 2011

Urban Hydrology

Today's adventure in transit mall art takes us to SW 6th Avenue between Harrison & Hall, home to Urban Hydrology, which is one my favorites among the new pieces that arrived along with the MAX Green Line. TriMet's Green Line public art tour describes thusly:

Urban Hydrology, 2009


Fernanda D'Agostino


On 6th Avenue, between Mill and Hall streets


With Urban Hydrology, Fernanda D'Agostino reflects some of the environmental science taking place at PSU in an attempt to thread the needle of beauty, abstraction and content while appealing to both academic and casual viewers. Twelve oversized diatoms carved in granite are sited in the biofiltration strips unique to the the southern portion of the Portland Mall.

An RACC page about the piece describes it in more detail:

Twelve carved granite sculptures based on Scanning Electron Microscopy images of diatoms used to determine water quality in urban waterways. The sculptures are sited along a three block long bio filtration landscape strip in downtown Portland, Oregon, adjacent to Portland State University.

So these shapes are pleasant to look at -- particularly in close up -- and they're based on electron microscope images of diatoms. I already liked them as abstract forms before I learned what they were modeled on, and the diatom angle makes it just that much cooler. Call me a science dork if you like. I really won't be offended.

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