Courtesy: Spike Mafford Photography
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Straight Shot

Seattle, Washington

Perri Howard

Warren G. Magnuson Park, 7400 Sand Point Way NE Seattle, WA, Seattle, Washington, 98115
Owner:  Seattle Public Utilities
Date:  2007
Placement:  parks (recreation areas)
Artwork Type:  sculpture (visual work)
Material:  concrete, steel (alloy), limestone
Description:  "Straight Shot" artistically builds upon a calibration baseline established by a cooperative program of the National Geodetic Survey in 1982. The location is a one-kilometer-long cleared pathway, the site of a former Navy runway, that functions as a baseline to calibrate electronic distance measurement (EDM) equipment, an essential tool necessary for the utility to deliver its services effectively. Artist Perri Howard has installed 12 six-foot ink jade limestone columns placed precisely along this baseline. Drilled into each stone are two circular holes that allow visitors literally a straight shot of views of the surrounding park, reinforcing the use of the baseline.

In land surveying, as in art, classic algebraic terms can expressthe inherent spatial relationships that accompany the baseline. Between each pair of stones, the distance successively doubles over the course of a measured kilometer. At one end of the baseline the columns are close together, and at the other end, the space between the columns is much greater, allowing the viewer to experience distance in physical as well as visual terms. Sighting through the stones, the viewer will have the experience of making a targeted observation in the landscape and adopting the stance of surveyors calibrating their instruments.

It was the artist's goal to draw attention to this easily overlooked point of interest. Howard defines her work as "amplifying the obscure but also providing ways to see the familiar in a new light." In this way, the artist emphasizes a hidden element of a public space in an elegantly simple and visually captivating manner.

Seattle Public Utilities 1% for Art funds
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