roof of new bike corral coming
to Dekum Street.
Our story last week about a new on-street bike corral coming to Dekum Street in the Woodlawn neighborhood sparked a lot of discussion. Many readers weighed in with negative opinions about the design (especially the car part) and wondered whether or not there would be more opportunity for public input. I followed up with folks behind the project and got some answers to your questions. I can also share a detailed artist’s statement and updated project drawings.
“The sculpture functions both as provocateur and healer and approaches a potentially divisive issue with a sense of humor…”
— from artist’s statement
The project is a collaboration between the artists (Buster Simpson and Peg Butler), the Bureau of Environmental Services (it will have an planted roof and other stormwater management aspects), and the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC).
Kristin Calhoun, Public Art Manager for RACC says the design (see more of it below) has been approved by the RACC Public Art Advisory Committee as a final design. However, Calhoun adds that, “the artists are willing to meet with the community to present the design and listen to feedback if members of the community desire it before the work goes into fabrication.”
Before anyone decides to open this up to more public input, let’s make sure opinions are based on the latest, most accurate information. Below are the current artist renderings of how the bike corral will turn out (NOTE: These are only conceptual drawings. Calhoun says they are not, “an exact rendering of how the final artwork will look, especially the car frame.”):
The car seems to be the most controversial aspect of the project (judging from comments on our last story). Calhoun, the artists, and the BES representative wanted to make it clear that the “sculpture will be a gesture of a car relic, not an actual car.”
Here’s more in the words of the artists (from a statement dated November 2nd):
“… the sculptural portion of the project is titled, “Dekumstruction” and is a concept that invokes a vision of a future less dependent on the automobile and petroleum based economy. The sculpture functions both as provocateur and healer and approaches a potentially divisive issue with a sense of humor… The car has been lifted up, overhead, out of the space to allow room for bike parking. The concept suggests making way for modes of transportation that are more environmentally friendly and repurposes the carbon based car as an iconic relic….
The sculpture will be created from sliced and pieced together oil drums, portions of a car frame and living plants. The car frame literally becomes a framing device for ecological transportation and presents a barebones abstraction of the automobile. The canopy will be a living life raft carrying a remnant of a petroleum based economy. Oil barrels lose their power with the car sitting on top, “gone to seed.” Vegetation will eventually grow up through the car to remediate its impact historically and visually.”
You can download the entire arist’s statement here (PDF).
Hopefully this gives you more clarity and background on this project. From RACC’s perspective, the design is final, the project is funded, and they are moving forward toward completion this coming spring.