RE:site (Shane Allbritton and Norman Lee)
RE:site (Shane Allbritton, b. 1974, and Norman Lee, b. 1972), Sunburst, 2020, stainless steel and dichroic glass
The astrolabe, an ancient instrument used for navigation, is a precursor to contemporary data visualization. Designed to produce a continual display of the current position of the sun, stars, and planets, it is a beautiful form that illuminates hidden patterns, guides the traveler, and predicts future movement. Sunburst reinterprets the rings of a spherical astrolabe as a dimensional sunburst diagram, referencing a mapping tool that reveals meaningful relationships in complex data. The artwork continually changes color with the movement of the sun, poetically evoking the dynamically changing nature of technologically driven data. A central symbol to Arizona State University, the sun, like data visualization, makes the invisible visible.
Sunburst‘s sculptural form features three stainless steel framework rings that are embedded with color-changing dichroic glass panels. The three rings are connected in a relative three-axis relationship, inspired by the form of a spherical astrolabe. Suspended from three steel supports, the resulting form is a dramatic, radiant gesture that celebrates the convergence of data, technology, and the global economy. The title of the artwork, Sunburst, has multiple layers of meaning. The sun is central to ASU symbolism and the natural environment of Arizona. As the bright Arizona sun travels overhead, the sculpture’s dichroic glass panels change color, transparency, and reflectivity.
The artwork changes continually with the movement of the sun and the viewer, poetically evoking that technologically driven data is continually changing in real time. Like the sun, data visualization makes the invisible visible. A mini hardscape plaza below the sculpture functions as a surface that showcases changing reflected and transmitted patterns of color from the sculpture’s dichroic glass panels as the sun moves throughout the day. This enables the artwork to provide viewers an up-close, intimate experience, while also functioning as a “gateway” element, drawing viewers down the main thoroughfare into SkySong, The ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center.
At night, the sculpture is dramatically up-lit, providing a very different experience of reflected and transparent color.
The structure of Sunburst is composed of grey powder-coated, rolled angle steel. This structure functions as the primary support system for the dichroic glass, which is positioned onto the angle assembly with an adhesive neoprene isolator that assists with expansion and contains the glass in place. Once situated, the glass is permanently held in place with a router-cut bracket that fastens onto the angles. The “core” of the sculpture is composed of five rings that interlock and permanently join with structural fasteners. Six square tubes fasten onto the faces of the rings to compose the initial structural stages for the glass assemblies. The square tubes are fabricated to have tapped holes on all of its faces to accept the angle assemblies and allow for a clean intersection.
Shane Allbritton and Norman Lee, co-founders of RE:site, explore notions of community, identity, and narrative in the context of public space. Drawing on a site’s cultural landscape, they create work that resonates with local or historical meaning, making unseen connections between themes and ideas. Their practice combines divergent aesthetic with interpretive design and fine art backgrounds. RE:site creates public art, memorials, and commemorative spaces that connect past and present by inviting the public to share in experiential moments, prompting collaborative viewership, curiosity, discovery, and dialogue.
Shane Allbritton’s personal and collaborative work is often a response to an ethos of place and memory. As a visual storyteller and mixed-media artist, she is deeply inspired by consultations with survivors, heroes, activists, and historians. Allbritton has dedicated nearly two decades expressing cultural stories through art and design.
Norman Lee is the son of immigrants and part of a family that has organized for civil rights and racial justice for three generations, and he sees his artwork as an expression of that legacy. Since becoming a finalist in the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition, Lee has developed a unique approach to commemoration, defined by a sensitivity to the transcendent and an open, inclusive vision of our society.
Allbritton and Lee are passionate about helping communities remember difficult histories and recover the voices of those who struggled for justice, freedom, and human dignity. They often engage the community as part of the creative process, using diverse modes that include workshops, interviews, and oral history.
The artists take a multidisciplinary approach to site-specific projects by working with experts from various fields and using diverse materials, styles, and modalities. RE:site’s body of work includes monuments, commemoratives, suspended artwork, interactive play art for playgrounds, light sculptures, technology-based work, and wall features.
Location1365 SkySong Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ 85257, USA
ArtistRE:site (Shane Allbritton and Norman Lee)
DatesCompleted January 2021