TOWN SYMBOL AT THE ENTRANCE OF SAMOKOV
Explanation of the proposal:
A monumental sculptural composition, conceived and to be achieved with a typical and categorical constructivist approach through the organization of the direct interaction between three primordial materials. Metal, stone and light have each played a decisive role in the history of mankind’s development. Over time, positive and desirable symbolic meanings have become part of the description of their content and quality. Anthropologists have named several epochs of our history after the first two of these materials; while those who look toward the future propose that the next great epoch will be named after light as this “material” will continue to be integrated into our culture as a medium for the transference of information.
The three materials have several possible and simultaneous symbolic meanings: stone representing the natural world in which man lives, steel suggests the ingenuity of man in extracting from and then transforming what the natural world provides him to build a world he conceives in his imagination, while light represents the elusive, and yet ever-present spark of inspiration that pushes man forward in his development; the materials also suggest three epochs in our history: stone for our first moments in pre-history, steel for our modern age of industry and technological development, and light for a future we dream of but have yet to realize. The symbolic meanings attached to the choice of materials are applicable and are understandable to any town or society anywhere in the world, but carry greater significance and emotional weight when applied to the town of Samokov in which these materials are recognizably part of the natural environment and where these materials have historically been decisive in the foundation and development of it’s culture and society.
A dynamic plastic form developed from five diagonally ascending granite monoliths. Steel trusses with rationally geometric segments, connect and organize in a corporeal spiral and appear to overcome gravity. An intensification of the sensation of observing a phenomenon is augmented by the ability to "transform" the sculpture’s observable “aura” during the night. This original compositional integration of the three chosen materials creates an overwhelming impression on the observer of the natural physical location of Samokov in the mountains, the town’s historical connections with metal and the aspirations this metal once gave the inhabitants for a better future, as well as the simultaneous inspiration,(created by the illusion of light lifting granite blocks upwards in defiance of gravity), that whatever can be thought of can be accomplished. By situating the work in the center of a physical environment dominated by a circulating motion in a (horizontal) plane, the work naturally merges with the physical forces and energies of the environment. The sculpture becomes a "participant" in the dynamism and organization of the site. And through its shape, it symbolically redirects these forces into a vertical direction, as a kind of plastic metaphor for delivering messages to and from this place to another.
A rigid structure will be built with time tested quality materials - granite and steel. Through-out the entire height of the form, each block of granite will have four holes drilled completely through them in strategically calculated locations allowing four massive steel rods to pass through the blocks; the four rods will connect each individual level of steel trusses with the one above and the one below. The trusses will be pressed and securely attached to the granite blocks by means of the metal rods passing through the blocks. All parts will be organized into a single monolithic and compactly unified construction. At the base below ground level will be a massive foundation of reinforced concrete, it will similarly be part of the structure as a whole in the function of a counter-balance to the upper structure, thus stabilizing the forces at play in the over-all construction.
The immediately surrounding terrain where the work will be located will be landscaped to further accentuate the integration of the sculpture into the site as well as to act as a conceptual stage on which the work will be presented. A semi-circular dry stone masonry retaining wall will be constructed at a shallow angle for the purpose of leveling out the immediate area where the actual structure will be erected. At the periphery of the circle, “scattered” groups of Japanese Maples (Acer palmatum), which grow to a low height (3-4m) will be placed strategically to help “frame” the work by creating specific and attractive vantage points for the viewers; this particular type of tree has been chosen for it’s natural beauty, as well as it’s typical reaction to the changing seasons: flowering in spring, green full leaves in summer, crimson in the autumn and leafless in the winter. Short shrubbery will be arranged along the top of the retaining wall to further complete the framing of the structure as well as to conceal the energy saving lighting which will illuminate the monument during the night. The remaining exposed earth will be covered with attractive short turf-grass to complete the over-all unity of the site.