Indoor Public Sculpture
Permanent Exhibition, Capstone International Office, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL, USA
Overview of the Project:
"Here Standing in the MIst!" is the name of a large-sized indoor sculpture. This sculpture is permanently installed in the main lobby of the Capstone International Office of the University of Alabama. This sculpture wanted to be installed in an academic environment so, the audience was people of different ages mostly students.
The title of the Public Sculpture: Here Standing in the Mist!
Main Goal (Based on the Survey Result):
Make a sense of home for international students
Represent the human freedom concept
A Study on This Environmental Project Was Necessary Because of the Following Reasons:
It was important to know about the target audience who visit this place and the sculpture daily.
The function of the place matters in order to choose a suitable idea/design to make. Then, the idea and concept behind the sculpture need to be studied.
Visual studies on the size of the place, its decoration, and the size of the sculpture are important.
The expectation of audiences and users matters then we need to study it.
Research Tools: Comparative & Competitive Analysis, User Research, Persona Creation, Interview, Paper Prototype, and so on.
Target Audience: students, faculty, and staff (educated class of the society)
My Role: leader of user research, interviewer, environmental researcher, designer, and sculptor, project manager
Project Duration: one month
Research: I conducted a survey among 30 users ranging from students to staff and faculty.
90% of users like to touch the sculpture.
30% of users prefer to have the sculpture as a functional object like a bench.
Challenges and Problems:
People want to touch the object
The value of the piece needs to be appropriate to the insurance company policies
Writing parts needs to be understandable for all users
The sculpture needs to be portable
The artwork shouldn't be very light (the user can touch the sculpture and the piece is still stable in its place).
The artwork shouldn't be too heavy to make it possible to move sometime in the building.
Choose a suitable affordable material to make the sculpture and make the ending price much less.
The subject of this public sculpture is longing and memory expressed through art and the culture of her home country. Then, it gives international students a sense of identity, tranquility, and confidence while they are at the international office looking for something.
Using Persian calligraphy as a visual element.
In different cultures, there is a great deal of interest in calligraphy as visual art. So, that's a good idea to draw some calligraphy on this work.
Hand-building techniques such as coil and slab building have been used because many students experience working with such techniques if they take art courses.
To understand how an audience finds and interact with the sculpture I exhibited the piece in a gallery space for public view. There, I asked every audience to answer the following question:
Who are they? Student, faculty, staff, or others?
What do they value in this sculpture?
Describe their feeling.
How do they interact with the artwork?
Do they like to have it as a permanent piece in an educational building?
How relevant is the topic to the space I', planning to install?
How much information do they want to know about the piece?
Do they view the subject of sculpture favorably, neutrally, or negatively?
What I have learned from this project:
The user study for this project was very different from some other projects. What I studied before making this public sculpture was a combination of student interviews, research, and observation. I've learned that strategies and user techniques might be very different from one project to another.