Region of Waterloo
Client: Region of Waterloo
Designer: Two Smiths
Location: Grand River Hospital ION Stop
Materials: Forged light rail track, mild steel, pipe
Scope of the Project: Design concept, manufacturing, construction and engineering drawings, forging, fabrication, assembly and installation.
This is one of ten public art projects commissioned by the Region of Waterloo for stops along the ION Iight rail transit route.
Two Smiths proposed to forge a section of the actual track the LRT runs on. The track, turned upside down, physically transforms from rail line to spinal column – a transition that is achieved by physically pinching it, slicing it and forging it.
Blacksmithing: manipulating hot steel using a hammer, served as the foundation to all other trades. Blacksmiths forged stone carving and wood working tools as well as agricultural implements, A contemporary sculpture made using very old technology identifies the piece as a work that conjures up all of the many trades that have flourished in the Region over the past 180 years. Much of the work done in factories today is performed by robots. This is a reminder of what can be done by hand by blacksmiths.
One might interpret the design to suggest that the spinal column serves as a metaphor for the LRT. On a deeper level, though, it also guides the collective imagination to observe that manufacturing was the backbone of the economy that facilitated growth in this area.
Backbone as a noun, also refers to strength of character. Grit, determination, fortitude are all qualities that people exhibit who are struggling to overcome challenges or rising to the opportunity. One might perceive as a metaphor for the community at large.