If eyes could talk…

Posted on Tuesday, September 18, 2018

a 1973 piece of art printed on the MacDonald hall

Les Yeux (MacDonald) 1973

Les Yeux (1973 mural by Canadian artist James Boyd) graces an exterior wall of MacDonald Hall at the University of Ottawa (photo from Ottaviensis 1978-1979).

the STEM Complex

Les Yeux (STEM) 2018

Les Yeux has been reinterpreted on the glass exterior of the STEM Com plex, a tribute to the artist, and appears as a face when the weather and other conditions (state of the sky, rotation of the Earth, etc.) are just right. Photo : Bonnie Findley

By Valérie Charbonneau

 

Prelude

 

An unusual look at science when Les Yeux on the former MacDonald Hall (1966–2016) meet up with those on the new STEM Complex (2018–).

 

***

 

LES YEUX 2018 (excited):

“Les Yeux! You came to my opening! Take a look, you won‘t be disappointed.”

 

LES YEUX 1973 (amused):

“What’s that? Looks like an old piece of shrivelled-up apple.”

 

LES YEUX 2018 (proud):

“That, my dear, is an ear. A researcher implanted living cells into that apple to grow the ear.”

 

LES YEUX 1973

“So random experiments are allowed here?!”

 

LES YEUX 2018

“Amazing, right? Today, science is creating new realities—and so that‘s what goes on here at the STEM Complex.”

 

LES YEUX 1973

“It‘s never boring, that‘s for sure!”

 

LES YEUX 2018 (nodding):

“Definitely! At STEM, you succeed by playing, experimenting and even failing. Researchers working here have one focus—the unknown—and are always looking to the future, a destination that holds extraordinary discoveries.”

 

LES YEUX 1973

“Science has never been so alive. What a great tribute to more than half a century of discoveries that took place in my building.”

 

LES YEUX 2018

“I agree. This fantastic building is buzzing with activity. And it‘s also home to some curious objects. Look at this equipment, for example. It can recreate a major earthquake, or even trigger a tsunami! Unreal, right?”

 

LES YEUX 1973

“Well, that doesn‘t really seem very reassuring. And that, what’s that? A DIY workshop?”

 

LES YEUX 2018

“That, my friend, is an inclusive gathering place where students in different disciplines, the arts and engineering for example, can bring together their ideas to make objects that are both practical and aesthetic, objects that will help shape the new face of science.”

 

LES YEUX 1973

“Impressive!”

 

LES YEUX 2018

“Here, we have no problem disrupting and redefining the established order of things. The wealth of discoveries made here will help us make the future.”

 

LES YEUX 1973 (winking)

“Well, let‘s see what you can do. Les Yeux are watching you….”

 

***

 

This story is a companion piece to an article on the vision underlying the STEM Complex and the impact this new facility will have on research at uOttawa.

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