Greater Reston Arts Center Launches The Buoyant Oracle, a Sculpture That Talks Back

By Editorial Team on October 5, 2020

Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) presents The Buoyant Oracle, a playful interactive feature that provides the opportunity to chat with Buoyant Force, the 50-ft tall sculpture by artist Sue Wrbican located in Reston Town Square Park. The installation, created by the Playful City Lab at American University led by Benjamin Stokes, Hazel Arroyo, Chris Karr, and Mitchell Loewen, in collaboration with Sue Wrbican and GRACE, will feature an evolving cast of guest oracles and narratives over the next five years.

Image credit: Sue Wrbican, Due East, Spring 2020, 2020. Image courtesy GRACE.

The interactive feature is activated by using your phone to scan an on-site QR code. Look for the blue sign with a speech bubble located next to the sculpture! The experience only requires a mobile phone — no fancy apps or even a data plan are needed. Once activated, in a conversational mode, the sculpture sends participants annotated photographs similar to polaroids that reveal the layered history, artist philosophy, and production process behind the monumental artwork. Connected to the surrealist tradition of the sculpture, the participant may encounter an Oracle when engaging with the feature that will pull different “readings” of paired poetry and remixed images of the sculpture. The goal, with an eye to social distancing, is to provide a light-hearted layer of engagement to connect during this unique time with the whimsical nature of GRACE’s largest installation to date.

“It means a great deal to GRACE to be able to offer this experience to the community. In a moment where in-person art viewing may not feel comfortable to many but is missed by all, activating our monumental 50-ft steel outdoor sculpture, Buoyant Force, in a new and innovative way can fill that void and more for visitors,” says Jaynelle Hazard, executive director and curator at GRACE.

As a design project, the Buoyant Oracle explores how digital modes can strengthen the connection to place, borrowing concepts from game design such as: offering choices, cultivating playful participation, and embracing unpredictability that results in each participant having a unique experience of their own.

For more information visit RESTONARTS.ORG

(Source: Greater Reston Arts press release)