Prospectus #186 University of New Mexico Pearl Hall
Founded in 1889, the University of New Mexico now occupies 600 acres along old Route 66 in the heart of Albuquerque, a city of more than 700,000 people. From the magnificent mesas to the west, past the banks of the historic Rio Grande to the Sandia Mountains to the east, Albuquerque is a blend of culture and cuisine, styles and stories, people, pursuits and panoramas. UNM offers a unique campus environment with a Pueblo Revival architectural theme.
UNM represents a wide cross-section of cultures and backgrounds. In the fall of 2004, 26,399 students attended main campus and another 6,865 attended branch campuses and education centers. The average student at UNM is 27-years-old.
As a result of an international design competition, nationally acclaimed architect Antoine Predock was selected to be the architect for the building. This new 64,000 square foot facility is located on the main campus fronting historic Route 66, and framing a major pedestrian gateway to the UNM campus.
For more information about the UNM and the new architecture building please visit the University of New Mexico website at: www.unm.edu.
Federico Muelas, from New York, New York was selected to create the art for the project. The piece is scheduled to be installed in the spring of 2011.
“Blue Flower/Flor Azul” is an outdoor piece where the image of a small drop of blue ink expanding into clear water is optically enlarged and vertically inverted into a 28 foot image and projected against a circular screen installed on the projection wall on the west entry of the building.
The piece is comprised of two separate but co-dependant elements, the ink projector located on the amphitheater and the projection screen installed over the projection stucco wall. The only element that connects them is the beam of light going from the first to the second one.
The screen works both as a projection surface at night and as an instrument to depict the image of the ink as monochro- matic pixels. The first system creates an image by adding light; the second one by subtracting it from the sunlight hitting the screen.
During the day the shadow of The George Pearl Hall building defines the frontier between the added and subtracted image on the screen, between the monochromatic image of the ink silhouette and the cinematic Image. The shadow is in continuous movement as the position of the sun changes with the time of the day and season.
Blue Flower/Flor Azul” attempts to create an “Imagination screen” for the University community and visitors to let their mind flow, share ideas and nurture dreams. It also tries to recreate the unadulterated pleasure of learning by merely experimenting with the mysterious processes of nature and consequently to promote awareness, understanding and stewardship in relation to the natural world.
The artist wants to create in the observer an alternating range of rational reflections and spontaneous emotions including the feeling of comprehending the indecipherable and making the invisible visible.
On the shaded part of the screen the image is created using fountain ink, a traditional medium used by architects to express their ideas. On the sun lighted part of the screen the image is generated by using a digital modern technique a contemporary rendering tool for architects.
The two substances, water and ink, respond to the encounter by expanding, contracting, making rhythmical waves and ultimately creating vortex-shaped forms that remind us of organic creation where the hollowing out of inner spaces is a fundamental process. It is a creative movement that can be found in every animal or vegetal class in nature such as the formation of shoots in plants and algae or the eroded curvilinear shapes of the shallow waters in a river.