Geologica 42


A 40-foot spire of telescoping steel and bronze ascends into the sky and announces the entry to this station. Capped at its pinnacle with a gleaming gold baseball, the tower is comprised of kinetic elements including an anemometer for measuring wind force, and a weather vane depicting a miniature Bell X-1 rocket plane balanced by a Cadillac tail fin. The Bell X-1 rocket, piloted by Chuck Yeager, was the first aircraft to break the sound barrier in 1947. These elements make apt reference to the California Institute of Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Art Center College of Design, all located in the Pasadena area. A bronze collar clads the bottom 10-feet of the tower, and contains a wealth of interesting and engaging designs, textures, and artifacts relating to both geological time and the history of Pasadena. Complex sculptural images including book spines, hot metal letterpress type, doorbells, locks, metal cars and train tracks, keys, pencils and paintbrushes, miniature doors, and miscellaneous small hardware fittings represent a conceptual stratum of history, knowledge, and subtext, and pay tribute as well to the fields of art and science. Prominently appearing on the tower collar is the number 42, which commuters and sports fans alike will recognize in conjunction with the gold baseball as references to Jackie Robinson, a long-time Pasadena resident and the first African American to break the "color line" in professional baseball.

Michael McMillen


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