News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, July 22, 2016

Simon Says: New Lake Thoreau Public Art Project Resembles Real-Life Pokemon Gym, Prompts Complex Interpretations


When we first saw this mysterious structure land atop the Lake Thoreau spillway, presumably from outer space, we first thought it was one of those, whazzitcalled, Pokemon gyms, and that we were going to get the power up and capture the wild Restonatta and win the game! But then we realized we'd left our phone in the car and this was, somehow, real life in our favorite earth-toned community. So whazzit?

Turns out whazzit is "Simon," the first public art project to grace our beautiful spillways -- concrete masterpieces of the form in their own right -- since the awesome Prog Rock Pyramid of Ought-Fourteen.

"Looks like a house with a bunch of squiggly lines coming out of it," you uncultured types might be thinking to yourselves. "Looks like a combination of the approved Redwood and Goldenrod exterior trim colors," you DRB types might be thinking to yourselves. Let us tell you, silly rabbits, why you're both wrong. Clue us into the Deeper Meaning, BFFs at IPAR:

Inspired by Robert E. Simon’s Seven Principles of Community, Simon shows that beauty, both structural and natural, is a necessity of a good life and should be fostered. The house structure represents how the hospitality of Reston draws people into the community, its warm colors creating an inviting atmosphere, and the curtain + window illustrating Reston’s welcoming nature. Reston is our home, and the house serves as a representation of such. The pieces radiating out from the house express an organic shape that changes the way the structure is viewed to communicate something that is less industrial and more attune to nature and the form it takes, like roots of a tree. The gradient emphasizes the diversity of the people within our community, who come from many different walks of life but still intend to be part of one single entity. The white accents draw the eye towards the structure and represent the bright impression of the inside view. From the initial conception to the present, the combination of both organic and geometric structure has been a consistent part of the sculpture.
WHAT THEY SAID. What, with our Ph.D. in art appreciation from one of the Caribbean's most prestigious correspondence schools, we actually saw it more as a representation of our elite town center, literally elevated above our mundane natural environment by virtue of its high-quality midscale chain retail and dining, yet somehow glassed off from the rest of the community, which can only peek through the curtain -- an ironic representation of the lack of transparency about the introduction of paid parking -- with envy at the Pottery Barn furnishings on offer while the smugness of those who choose to frequent it literally radiates out of it. Just goes to show you that art is in the eye of the beholder. Plus there's not a Triffid in sight.

Designed by South Lakes High School students under the guidance of Marco Rando, the project is actually pretty cool. You can come to a celebration of "Simon" with the school's STEAM team at 7 Monday evening if you're so inclined.

Update: Monday's celebration has been canceled due to the excessive heat.

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