Artists, scientists team up
Quark Park in Princeton to show connection between
the 2 fields
PRINCETON -- In the coming weeks, 12 teams composed of local scientists
and artists will be working to temporarily transform a vacant lot behind
the Hulfish Street parking garage into a garden housing original artwork
inspired by scientific theories.
The 15,000-square-foot area between Witherspoon and Chambers streets,
to be christened "Quark Park," will be open to the public from July 15
into the fall.
The volunteer lineup is an eclectic bunch, including molecular
biologists, mathematicians, engineers and geologists, in addition to
renowned sculptors and architects.
"Because the Princeton area has such extraordinary richness in
scientific talent, we wanted to entice the scientists to come out of their
labs and meet the world of art," said Kevin Wilkes of the Princeton Design
Guild, who collaborated with local landscape architects Alan Goodheart and
Peter Soderman to develop Quark Park.
"There will be both an element of delight and education intertwined in
each exhibit," said Wilkes, who is working with Princeton University
computer scientist David Dobkin on designing Quark Park's enclosed stage
area, which will eventually feature concerts, lectures, symposiums and
other community events.
Palmer Square Management has donated use of the property for the rest
of the year, before it begins building its residential project in 2007.
Robert Goldston, the director of the Princeton Plasma Physics
Laboratory, said he hopes to educate adults and children about fusion
energy through the piece he will be constructing with sculptor Rein
Goldston's current work in creating artificial solar energy and
Triefeldt's experience with solar-powered kinetic art will serve as the
inspiration for their design.
According to Goldston, among the possibilities for their exhibit is the
creation of a playground slide that would artfully mimic the twists of a
magnetic configuration thought to more successfully control plasma. "We
would like to build a meaningful sculpture that brings awareness to the
connection between art and science because they are definitely related,"
said Triefeldt, whose creations have been featured at the Franklin
Institute in Philadelphia, the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton and the
1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Sculptor Jonathan Shor hopes his exhibit about the workings of
acoustics will help highlight the similarities between the realms of art
"Once we let go of our own egos as artists and scientists, we can see
that the two are in many aspects the same," Shor said.
Shor will be collaborating with music synthesis and pyschoacoustics
expert Perry Cook and David Fierabend of Groundswell Design Group to
create a type of giant granite xylophone that would allow viewers to make
their own unique music.
Princeton University President and molecular biologist Shirley
Tighlman, who has teamed up with sculptor Nancy Cohen and electrical
engineer Jim Sturm in order to build a 15-foot-high artwork that will
illustrate the mechanics of the human sense of smell, hopes Quark Park
will remind viewers that "good science is about creativity."
"Both the human endeavors of art and science begin with creative
instinct," Tighlman said. "The Quark Park is about marrying the two."