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Monolith raises eyebrows, explores nature


Randy Metcalf
Arizona Daily Wildcat

"Disiuncta Serta; Connected Disconnected," sculpted by Mark Cowardin, is a relatively new and somewhat baffling addition to the many sculptures found on campus. A plaque with the sculpture's name will be added next week, clearing up any previous confusion about the true nature of the piece.

By Hudson J. Genovese
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
September 28, 1999

A large black monolith situated on the south side of the UA Old Main building's fountain has raised suspicions among some UA students, leaving them guessing about the fixture's purpose and the meaning behind it.

"It looks like it has something to do with water," said Sunny Bert, a business management sophomore.

Undeclared freshman Angela Cernyar noticed the creation last week and thinks "it looks like it has something to do with space, or modern art maybe."

But artist Mark Cowardin downplayed the mystery.

"It's a sculpture," said Cowardin, who designed and built the piece, titled "Disiuncta Serta; Connected Disconnected."

Cowardin, a second-year graduate student focusing on sculpture, was the winner of the Centennial Sculpture Project. The project is open to all graduate students within the Fine Arts department, and allows students to submit a model and proposal of their idea to the Public Art Advisory Committee.

The committee then determines the recipient of the award and the piece that goes on exhibition for one year. Following the year of display on campus, the artist is allowed to keep the sculpture.

"Connected Disconnected" took five months to build and was erected on Aug. 20, soon before the fall semester started.

After living in the desert for a year, Cowardin was inspired to create a satirical piece about man's relationship with his surroundings.

It is a representation of a structure meant to be inhabited by humans and their relationship with the earth, specifically the desert environment. The holes located at the top of the obelisk are a "clue of ventilation for what is inside in relation to its ability to survive." The two pipes extending from the sculpture are symbolic of water used on grass and humans in the desert environment.

The overall connotation of the work is the disconnection humans have with the desert environment, in the hopes of invoking conversations and awareness about living within the desert. Cowardin personally choose the location of the piece from a selected list in order to demonstrate the irony of the surrounding environment of water and well-groomed grass -Ĝobjects that are naturally out of context for the desert.

There will be a private assembly next week for the induction of "Connected Disconnected" to its stay at the university.

Additionally, Cowardin will affix a plaque bearing the title of the sculpture in order to clarify any misconception of machinery or art for observers.

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