Sunday, June 15, 2014

Viking Creation Myth

Today's public art object is Viking Creation Myth, a large glass light fixture in Portland State University's new Student Rec Center. The university's public art brochure describes it:

Vibeke Skov, 2007 The Creation Myth is a unique artwork of kiln formed glass and iron in the form of a Viking ship. Pictographic compositions are set against symmetrical glass panels within the iron frame of the ship.

Skov is a well-known Danish glass artist. Here's an interview (with English subtitles) I found over on YouTube:

The reason behind all of this Viking business is that the university's sports teams are the PSU Vikings, so a Viking theme is sort of inevitable. The name dates back to the school's humble origin as the "Vanport Extension Center", offering G.I. Bill classes to returned WWII veterans. At that point they were the "Vanport Vikings". As far as I know, the name was chosen just for the alliteration. The school decided to keep the nickname in 1952 when it became Portland State and moved to the South Park Blocks.

The Student Rec Center offers surprisingly cheap gym memberships for alumni, which is the real reason I was there. I used to belong to the gym at Duniway Park, which began as a YMCA and went through a series of increasingly shady owners before it finally closed last summer, or was evicted, depending on who you ask. I think that legal saga is still ongoing, actually, though I lost interest after I got them to stop charging me for membership in a defunct club. Finding a replacement gym was annoying, since I don't like being called "bro", and I don't want to buy anyone's stupid protein shakes, and I've gone this long without ever having a conversation about "ripped glutes" (which sounds really awful) and I don't want to start now. Fortunately the PSU gym is pretty low key, and since the school serves a lot of "nontraditional" students I don't really stand out as an "old person", at least as far as I can tell. So that's good.

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