HiveMind.

“HiveMInd” on site

“HiveMind” in Fort Collins, Colorado

When I proposed “Growing Together” for the Poudre River Public Library here in Fort Collins, I’d also included an idea for an outdoor piece that related to the idea of the hivemind. The committee liked it so much, they elected to work towards raising the money to purchase it (“Growing Together” was a percent-for-art portion of the new construction.) It took a while, but they managed to get the funding together. It turned into a really fun project, requiring that I stretch a bit and recruit the services of some outside vendors that I hadn’t worked with before. I’ve been growing more and more frustrated with the negative impacts welding has on the sheet metal I work with – the heat tends to warp and distort the sheets, plus the welds themselves need cleaning up through grinding and polishing. “HiveMind” ended up still requiring quite a bit of welding, but the key parts that make the design “sing” are pure assemblage. I’d like to push this idea even further in the future to eliminate welding altogether – the idea of not having to chase any welds coupled with the problem-solving involved intrigues me no end.

 

A hive mind is the emergent property of apparent sentience that arises from the behaviors of a colony of individuals. Just as your neurons, without individual intelligence, interact as a unit to become a brain, so one can view a hive of bees or a colony of ants interacting as a unit to become a mind.  The whole has behaviors, memories and characteristics that could not be predicted by studying an individual. The idea that the behaviors of the individuals in a society, on a planet or on a network, might interact as a whole to exhibit behaviors that were beyond the ken of parts.

“HiveMind” consists of a central monolith with two sides faced with polished stainless steel hexagons. On one side these hexes are flat, in essence creating a mirror. The opposite side has hexagons which are rolled to make each one slightly convex – also creating a mirror, but one where the reflected subject is broken up into multiple images. I’m hoping to orient the piece such that the viewer sees oneself reflected as a whole, with the library in the background – symbolizing ones integration into the community formed around and within the library. Moving around to the other side of the sculpture, one then sees multiple reflected images, symbolizing the individual members and highlighting their importance to the culture of the library. Thematically, the sculpture is striving to accentuate both the collective community of the library and each person’s importance to that community.

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