Sunday, March 24, 2013

118 Modules

118 Modules The latest obscure artwork in our ongoing tour of obscure things is 118 Modules, on the SW corner of the parking garage at SW 10th & Yamhill. It's yet another find from the big Travel Portland public art map. The map's description:
Smart Park, SW 10th & Yamhill
John Rogers 118 Modules
1979 slip-cast white stoneware
The RACC page about it has a bit more to say:

This is John Rogers’ first public art commission. He has since created numerous large-scale public art projects from Alaska to Florida. A Portland native, Rogers studied ceramics at Portland State University, and currently works with diverse materials such as metals, glass, ceramics, stone, cement, plastics, and light.

“I like to mix qualities found in the organic world with the technical world… My art relies on a firm understanding of the interplay between art, architecture and engineering. From these disciplines I develop sculptural forms that create a dialogue and tension with the architecturally defined space, as well as the surroundings.”

There are also Smithsonian art inventory & CultureNOW pages that don't add a lot. It also shows up in a big .CSV file cataloguing local public art, hosted on Github of all places. An interesting idea, anyway.

118 Modules

This is at least the third artwork I've posted about that was funded under the late, lamented, Comprehensive Education & Training Act (CETA), which I gather was a great big 1970's style unsupervised crockpot of federal money. The other two pieces (that I'm aware of) are Uroboros and Disk #4; I think 118 Modules is probably my favorite of the three, although Uroboros had an interesting, photogenic texture when you got up close to it.

118 Modules

So the question you're probably wondering now is whether there really are 118 modules or not. I did actually try counting & came up with fewer than that, but then I realized some of the modules are divided into halves, quarters, or even smaller fractions, and those pieces all probably count toward the total number of modules. At that point laziness kicked in and I shrugged & stopped counting. In my defense, I'm pretty sure that not knowing whether there really are 118 modules or not adds a sophisticated new layer of complexity to the piece. Also, counting the modules is sort of like tugging on Superman's cape: What if, hypothetically speaking, it turned out there were really only 115 modules? What then? An angry taxpayer lawsuit? A quiet renaming? The piece gets de-accessioned and goes up on eBay? Honestly, I have no idea how these things usually work, but it's bound to be ugly, so maybe we just shouldn't go there.

118 Modules

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