TRYLON DEBUTS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING
We live in an overly networked world enveloped in a mesh of constant communication, yet feel more disconnected than ever before. Our most treasured memories are stored in an invisible cloud, friendship just means followers and true love lasts until the end of a data plan. The planet is both totally engaged and completely zoned out.
As a result, our independence and self perception has been completely eroded. Who are we when the devices are turned off? When there’s nothing left to connect with, what is the essence of our being?
There has to be something more.
Next month, as part of the 2015 Visiting Artist Program at the University of Wyoming, we will debut TRYLON — the first in a series of extended land art interventions intended to spread across the American West.
TRYLON is a monumental neon-illuminated telecom tower that combines notions of subversive land use, industrial aesthetics and symbolic counter surveillance to remix the power structure of the skyline. The artwork incorporates a pre-20th century French semaphore line — a system of coded symbols mounted atop turrets used to visually convey messages over a long distance — and blends it with a digital age telecommunications structure to create a new multilayered form. Each of the four monochromatic minimal neon symbols that adorn the tower allude to planetary paths, geometric rhythms, community and cellular growth.
The main framework is an engineer certified commercial telecom tower composed of galvanized steel and attachment hardware that stands 25 feet in height. Designed to attach to a 3/4 inch thick powder coated mild steel base plate, the tower weighs just over 750 lb. as a single structure. The base plate attaches to a system of four 3/4 inch thick powder coated mild steel ballast plates intended to connect to a concrete base or hard surface ground location using sixteen submerged epoxy adhered bolts. The tower, base and ballast plates weigh 2,750 lb. and safely installed can withstand wind loads at over 100 mph.
Built to withstand both tough environmental and human interference, TRYLON is a permanent work of contemporary art and a future-proofed Anthropocentric obelisk.
Data can measure everything, but will never reveal the full extent of the spirit. This is the territory best left to absolute wonder or poetic mystery. An undefinable, elusive place we all know and need — but seem to have to lost contact with.
As a standalone site-specific intervention, TRYLON combines analog sculptural form with the warmth of neon to disrupt contemporary feelings of what ‘being connected’ means in a digital age. It asserts that universal truths and cycles have a power and presence. That we might see each other as people just like us as opposed to something we swipe left, unfollow or delete.
Like an app quietly working in the background to improve your operating system, it inverts the quotidian identity of a telecom tower to generate a sense of introspection. The artwork’s four illuminated glyphs silently expressing a vital connection to an open-ended understanding of our interpersonal relationships, our surroundings, perhaps even the cosmos.
TRYLON will be permanently installed in front of the Main Art Building by November 5, 2015 at the University of Wyoming located in Laramie situated at an elevation of 7,220 feet, between the Laramie and Snowy Range mountains. This project was made possible with funding from the University of Wyoming Department of Art and the generosity of Western Neon.