What is That Thing Near the Library?

web_bikesandaliens-4A sculpture, bearing neither plaque nor label, was installed next to Hartzler Library over the summer, and no one seems to know what it is or where it came from. The sculpture is titled “Con_sequential Complex,” and was created by Eric Kniss. It was originally displayed outside of the Smith House in downtown Harrisonburg, on 311 S. Main St. After the contract with Smith House to keep the sculpture there ended, EMU took on the sculpture with the idea of possibly purchasing it in the future.

When shown the sculpture and asked what she thought it was, First- year Mercedes Ledesma said, “I have no idea. I guess maybe a memorial.”

When asked the same thing, Sophomore Charlie Good answered, “I never noticed it before. I have no idea what it is.”

Senior Derek Sauder responded with, “I don’t know… maybe a monument, or a sculpture,” and gestured to other sculptures of indeterminate shape as he said this. The difference between most sculptures on campus and the one next to the library is that this sculpture has no sign or plaque explaining what it is, who the artist is, or what its title is.

The location of the sculpture was decided on by Kniss, Visual and Communication Arts professor Paulette Moore, and Physical Plant Director Eldon Kurtz. According to Kurtz, a label will be put by the sculpture soon so that people will know what it is. Kurtz also spoke of possible plans to place a bench near the sculpture to make it into a space for contemplation.

When asked about the inspiration behind “Con_sequential Complex” Kniss said that he was not trying to express any specific meaning through the piece, but was rather using it as a means of exploring different questions he had at the time.web_bikesandaliens-5

“Some of the formative questions for me in this work,” Kniss said, “have to do with comparing and contrasting different models for organizational/relational structures. What I have learned through the work is that those structures that I viewed as polemic to each other may in fact be more interdependent than I thought.”

While his work on this piece has not led him to absolute answers to his questions, Kniss feels that he has gained some clarity, and has been enriched by the opportunity to explore his thinking.

“If I can create an object that generates space in which I am able to contemplate my questions, then perhaps others will also find room for thought as they encounter the work.”

Kniss received his Associates of Art Degree fromHesston College, his BFA in Ceramics from Bethel College, and his MFA in Sculpture from the University of North Carolina in Greensborso.

-Bethannie Parks, Style Editor; photo credit, Colt Duttweiler

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