In a place of healing we expect care, hope for connection, and long for comfort.
Diversion can help, too, and a sense of enlightened diversion is at the heart of Field Guide.
An epic latticework screen stands outside the entrance to the VA’s Polytrauma & Blind Rehabilitation Center. While from a distance, one’s first impression is of a vast linear abstraction, graphic clues soon give way to recognition of overlapping plant and animal forms.
This giant puzzle conflates twenty-two renderings of species indigenous to Northern California, and while no two of them share a common scale, they may share a curving line or graphic motif.
Perched within the screen are dozens of gold birds, which in their three-dimensionality and uniform scale offer a counterpoint to the linear framework.
The same composition is replicated inside, curved into a cylinder suspended over the waiting area, an optical complication that further challenges viewers in decoding the piece.
Both the screen and the cylinder are decipherable to those with 20/200 vision, a threshold commonly used in defining legal blindness.
A third component, incorporating a tactile interface, is for those totally without sight and their caregivers.
At once serious and sly, sophisticated and innocent, Field Guide aims to promote contemplation on several levels, offering a challenge in which viewers can find aesthetic engagement, intellectual stimulation, and a renewed connection to Nature.
Field Guide was fabricated by Heavy Industries, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.