Thursday, November 27, 2008

Energy in a new century

Walking the dog across the Casper College campus on Thanksgiving morning. Came across Robert Russin's 1973 sculpture Man and Energy in front of the Gertrude Krampert Theatre and snapped the photo with my cellphone. Wonder what Man and Energy 2008 would look like? If only Mr. Russin were around to compose the artwork. He passed away last year. The task of composing "Human and Energy" now will be up to living artists.

Russin's bronze sculpture features a man wrapping "energy" in arms that become a solid surface that looks like coal or possibly the earth itself. A metallic fire burns within, a fire that could be fueled by oil or gas or coal or nuclear energy powered by Wyoming yellow cake. At the heart of the fire is an empty circle. This implies heartlessness. But "energy" comes from inanimate objects that are turned into powerful forces by humans. Energy can't be heartless. But man can. An important distinction as we try to come to grips with our energy future.

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