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Proposed artwork on Lake Thoreau Spillway shows brain’s complexity

This year’s Lake Thoreau art project includes two floating heads, based on early mock-ups (via Reston Association)

Two heads with a complex web of activity spilling about them will float on the Lake Thoreau spillway in Reston sometime this year.

Students from South Lakes High School’s STEAM team have prepared designs for their yearly project under the supervision of SLHS art teacher and sponsor Marco Rando.

This year, two heads — representing the right and left sides of the brain — will be strung together using several reflective cords. The sculpture would be tied down with aircraft cable, as has typically been done with previous installations.

The 9-foot-tall sculpture aims to reflect the brain’s role as a “superintelligent force” that powers the body and displays the brain’s synergetic functions, challenging the idea of individuals simply being left-brained or right-brained.

“Our sculpture will be recognizing the beauty and the complexity of the human brain,” said Sophia Pick, a SLHS student.

Evening lights will be hidden inside platform boxes. The two contrasting faces of the sides of the brain will be connected with wooden beams and a web of neurons made out of paracord — a design that aims to reflect the interconnectivity of the brain.

The sculpture takes inspiration from the Moire effect, a method using dots or lines that creates illusions. The effect would be incorporated into the wire mesh of the sculpture.

Students from the club presented the project to Reston Association’s Design Review Board on April 19.

The board unanimously approved the application after seeking clarification on how the project would be anchored for stability.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing this out there,” said member James Lozoskie.

Rando noted that the club got off to a “slow start” due to the transition from virtual to in-person learning, but have made good progress so far. Students have been working on the project since the beginning of the school year.

He did not immediately indicate the cost of the project and the expected date of installation.

This year, several community sponsors — including Red’s Table, Public Art Reston, and Mary and David Prochnow — helped raised funds for the project.

Students hope to display detailed artwork on panels essentially made of an aluminum composite — a feature they said was possible because significant funds were raised for the project.

The team has been designing temporary public art sculptures for the spillway for several years, including “Pyramid of Light” (2014), “Nothing Twice” (2015) and “Simon” (2016).

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