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ned Kahn’s Rain oculus connects the public to the shoppes at marina bay sands

“Humans have long been fascinated by vortices. Depictions of whirlpools date back to 3000BC” – Ned Kahn
in urban environments, places where people can reconnect with the larger forces of nature.” Kahn’s imprint here at Marina Bay Sands does just that: Rain Oculus connects the waterfront promenade with The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands and utilizes the power of water, an element that is such a part of everyday life here. The installation helps form Art Path at Marina Bay Sands, nine sitespecific pieces that encourage guests to actually feel the property as they make their way around. “Our objective at Marina Bay Sands is to evolve art that enriches the public experience while also fulfilling multiple roles with the architecture, resulting in a seamless integrated whole,” says Marina Bay Sands’ design architect Moshe Safdie. Rain Oculus engages spectators, both on the promenade above and below within The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. Visitors are drawn towards the very “physical” movement of water as it gathers in the 70-foot wide acrylic bowl and swirls into motion before plunging – at 6,000 gallons per minute. “Humans have long been fascinated by vortices,” says Kahn. “Depictions of whirlpools date back to 3000BC and frequently recur throughout the history of art and science. In many ancient cultures, the vortex was a symbol of the passage between worlds, a symbol of birth and death. “Modern scientific research frequently involves the study of vortices. Vortices are ubiquitous in nature, occurring on scales ranging from the subatomic realm to huge spiral galaxies.” It is a mesmerizing experience, standing there, watching as the water twists its way either above or below your field of vision. And Kahn has again succeeded – as he has throughout his career – in providing a “connection.” “The large size of the proposed vortex allows it to completely fill people’s field of view,” he says. “It is visually engulfing. Within this visual field, the complex spiral patterns of the vortex change constantly. The surface of the whirlpool becomes a turbulent mirror for the light from the sky. The vortex creates a place where people can ‘reflect’ on our current relationship with water and its vital connection to our lives.” n

Photography by JEAN QINGWEN LOO

Ned Kahn’s contribution to Art Path reflects the world that surrounds us. MATHEW SCOTT reports


ature has never been far away from Ned Kahn’s thoughts – throughout his life and throughout his work. The acclaimed Connecticut-born artist has based himself out of California since the 1980s, but his vision has always been a global one, turning his attention to the world that surrounds him – and, indeed, surrounds us all. His efforts towards that end were first nurtured while working at the San Francisco Exploratorium and came to fruition through such stunning pieces as Articulated Cloud at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. “For the last 26 years, I have been making large-scale public artworks that increase people’s awareness of natural phenomena,” says Kahn. “Using materials such as water, wind, fog and light, I have worked to create contemplative oases

sands style | fall 2011

sands style | fall 2011