Wind Vane with Barge
In 2014, Chris Burden was selected to propose a captivating large-scale, site-specific outdoor sculpture for the public plaza in front of Rotterdam Centraal train station, a bustling transportation nexus. Burden proposed three separate and innovative concepts, including Wind Vane with Barge. This imaginative sculpture featured an immense, fully operational weather vane consisting of a massive steel arm balanced on a central pole, functioning both as a fulcrum and an axis. Burden's Wind Vane with Barge proposal was a testament to his visionary approach to art and engineering, showcasing his ability to combine aesthetics, kineticism and dynamism in a single masterpiece.
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Wind Vane with Barge’s scale is striking; at one end of this colossal arm hung a vibrant red metal plate, while at the other end was suspended striking yellow and red 24-foot-long steel barge. Suspended above the pedestrians walking through the public plaza, the sculpture would sway and bob in the wind, creating a captivating dance reminiscent of ocean waves. Perched on the barge were to be three lit blue Art Deco street lamps, originally operational in the Los Angeles area.
Despite its popularity with the selection committee, Wind Vane with Barge was ultimately considered unfeasible due to structural and safety concerns. Its expansive circular footprint of approximately 239 feet clashed with the busy city center's constraints, that included an underground train system, as the sculpture needed reinforcements that couldn't be accommodated. While this particular concept didn't find its home in Rotterdam, it exemplified Burden's creative spirit and his relentless pursuit of pushing artistic boundaries.