Sunday, March 23, 2014

Untitled Landscape

When I was wandering around Boston a while ago, I ran across Untitled Landscape by David von Schlegell, at the Harbor Towers condo complex on a swanky part of the city's waterfront, previously a district of very old docks and warehouses. The street address, "85 East India Row" conjures images of clipper ships full of tea and spices and whatnot. Concrete high rise towers and a stainless steel abstract sculpture are not what you'd expect to find at such an address.

Untitled Landscape has been catalogued twice in the Smithsonian public art database, and is described variously as "Four rectangular units of steel bent to form obtuse angles." and "Four pieces of metal in the shape of obtuse angles, set in a square facing each other."

The sculpture dates to 1972 when the towers were built; supposedly it's often mistaken for an array of solar panels, I suppose by people who have no idea what a real solar panel looks like. Instead, I see it as showing what it's like being a mouse lost in Starbucks, dwarfed by rows of enormous shiny MacBooks. Yet it was created in 1972, the year Steve Jobs graduated high school. So how could Mr. von Schlegell have created these? Was he helped by aliens, like in all those Von Daniken books? Or could he have known (or been) a time traveller from the early 21st century? And if that's the case, why MacBooks, specifically, and not iPads or something a little more futuristic? What was he trying to tell us? But wait, I'm writing about them on a MacBook right now... what could it all mean? I'm so confused...

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