seattle-based artist dan corson has just finished installing a permanent series of four 17-foot tall photo-voltaic sculptures along NW davis street in portland oregon, titled ‘nepenthes’. these glowing sculptural elements are inspired by the carnivorous plants called nepenthes, which are named after the magical greek potion that eliminates sorrow and suffering. by referencing the patterns of oregon native vegetation and other carnivorous plants and inserting a quirky expression of nature into an urban environment, these sculptures celebrate historic china town’s unique and diverse community. the structures are created out of robust layers of translucent fiberglass with embedded with LED lights wrapping around a steel spine. a custom created solar panel on top energizes the batteries, and also allows circular shadows to back-light the tops of the sculptures in the daytime. each sculpture is physically identical, yet they all have a unique translucent color and patterning that gives each piece its own distinctive personality. from an urban planning perspective, the project was designed to increase pedestrian connectivity between two important neighborhoods. the project was funded by trimet and managed by the regional arts & culture council and is now a part of the city of portland’s public art collection.
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