Three-dimensional objects as sculpture

Suncor-Building-Norseman-Plane-With-Scaffolding-Jan-13-2014 (1024x683)

Today I want to talk about something that shares a lot of attributes with sculpture, three-dimensional art-making and public sculpture.

But it is none of the above.

Tonight I was walking through the +15 of the old Petro-Canada Centre (now Suncor Plaza).  I had not been that way for quite some time and because I was not in a rush to get home tonight, I went a different way.  I was glad that I did and that I had my camera with me too.

It was dark already.  As I entered the building, all I could see was scaffolding with darkness behind.  When I got closer I was surprised at how beautiful the large atrium was with all the scaffolding stacked from floor to ceiling filling the space to capacity.  I also looked at the illuminated airplane differently, as it was the only object lit and the focal point of the entire lobby.  It was almost surreal in its orientation.  This plane (a Noorduyn Norseman V) which is on loan from the Aerospace Museum of Calgary, has hung in the atrium for as long as I can remember.  It was in its present location when I used to work in the East Tower on the 29th floor, back when I did a year-long contract for TransCanada PipeLines, before they built the new tower across the street.

Under this plane I remember purchasing a small Norfolk pine from a Junior Achievement group, one lunch hour in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  I was with my most favourite administrative assistant that I had the pleasure of working with, Ramona.  She was awesome.  We spent our lunches together almost every day, until she left.  She helped me decide on the name for the plant – Elvis, in the hopes that optimistically, it, like The King himself, would live forever.  Alas, it was not be.  However, the plant lady who used to water all the plants for the executive team on my floor, heard that my plant was called Elvis.  That was all it took to hear new stories from the plant lady about her groupie experiences attending concerts following The King around North America.  It was the best $3 or $5 investment I ever made.  If she saw me in the years after I left the company, she would always ask how Elvis was doing and tell me a new story.  I never got tired of hearing them.  They always made me laugh.

Normally I don’t give the airplane much thought.  Tonight as I got closer, the light was quite striking as it cast itself upon the airplane as if it was an object in space – which I suppose it is.  Today, however, it took on a different hue.  This time it was different.  Very different.  It was almost as if I was doing a studio visit to a sculptor’s studio.  It was as if I was seeing an unfinished work in progress that is being held in place by the framework, with all the sprues still attached to the sculptural object, and lit for maximum effect to discuss which direction the work should go.

After taking a few photos, I talked to one of the workers who was wearing a safety harness and getting ready to climb the scaffolding.  I asked him what is happening with the plane.  In his pleasant Newfoundlander accent he told it is not going anywhere and that they are starting to take down the scaffolding.  They painted the interior of the building, cleaned from top to bottom and will leave a reduced scaffold so they can clean the airplane once they are done.  They have been working on it for the past month or so and will be finishing up soon.

It looked so beautiful tonight.  I am glad I saw it while the lobby was in a transitional state.

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