When my brothers were still in school, the occasional rainy day required them to leave their motorcycles at home. It wasn’t unusual for me to play temporary chauffeur, if I wasn’t busy. Over the years, I’ve probably driven by the Fluor Daniel Engineering Innovation Building several hundred times. Since working on campus, I walk by it every day, but pay little attention, when I detour through Hunter Hall. But on one of my last perambulations around Clemson’s campus, I told myself I’d take a closer look, some day.
The distinctive feature of Fluor Daniel is the glassed in high bay area that holds all sorts of cool sounding equipment (according to various web pages). I won’t even try to attempt to repeat some of them, after looking at Clemson’s official page on the building, because only engineers and other brainiacs would have a clue what they were. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t find them interesting, if I could see inside the glass and have someone explain it to me (in English, small words preferred), but I’ll just stick to the outdoors and what I can understand. : )
The last time I walked down the road past Fluor Daniel, the huge aluminum sculpture caught my eye, but since I don’t drop everything to look at art, in general, I kept on walking. This time, I determined to take a closer look. And I was glad I did, because it’s a pretty amazing piece of work.
Sculpted by Linda Howard, it’s called Six Degrees of Freedom (which refers to an engineering term, something to do with the laws of vibration). But like every other sculpture I’ve come across, there’s no plaque explaining all this detail. I had to look it up online. I rely on the Clemson Tourism Walking Tour page to tell me about some of the sculptures, because I can’t find it anywhere else (at least, not yet).
When I first approached the sculpture, I was trying to figure out what angle was best to photograph it from, because the sun wasn’t quite overhead, and it made one side shadowy, and the other quite bright. I like both angles, though. Then, looking at it, head on, and seeing the reflection of the “wings” in the glass is quite beautiful. Once I had the picture on my computer, I zoomed in a lot, trying to see if I’m reflected in the glass, too. But the center of the “wings” is lined up with a window pane, so I’m not even visible.
Close up, I love how the aluminum isn’t even uniformly one texture (or do I mean shade?). It’s smooth, but doesn’t reflect like a mirror, because of the swirls in the metal. I think you can see it in some of the pictures.
Once I was standing under the sculpture, I loved how every time I moved, the sculpture seemed to change. Because of the constantly “moving” pattern, every new location gives you a “new” view. And since I wasn’t on the shady side, the sun kept adding to the shade versus shine look, with every move I made.
Later, after I had walked down to the end of the cul-de-sac, and come back on the opposite side of the road, I took another look. I’ve decided that if you take the time to stop and look, there are so many amazing and interesting things to see. I’m learning a lot about both the town of Clemson and the University, by taking the time to look and actually SEE.
You can’t see this sculpture from the “main” road, you have to turn down towards Lee, and come back around. Most visitors who drive through the campus wouldn’t find it unless they made a wrong turn. And yet, the courtyard seems to have been designed only for that sculpture. And I bet most of the students walk by it, every day, and never even look at it. I know I did.