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A winter postcard from campus

Posted on February 25, 2019 at 2:19 PM by Betsy Grabinski

The Moth by Mac Adams, 2008. Made from Vermont marble, located on the west side of Coover Hall. Commisioned by University Museums. An Art in State Buildings Project for Coover Hall. In the Art on Campus Collection, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. Photo courtesy of Iowa State Electrical and Computer Engineering and student Sarah Hays.


About The Moth

Coover Hall, the electrical and computer engineering building, was the inspiration for the sculpture. Legend holds that the first use of the word "bug" to describe technical difficulties occurred in 1947. Harvard computer scientists were working on an early computer, when a moth flew inside the machine. The scientists had to literally "debug" their computer, and made note of it as such in their logbooks. Though that first moth that coined the term was found dead, and had to be picked apart, Adams' sculpture is about piecing things back together.

The Moth is ever changing. With each step the viewer takes, the work shifts, as the winged creature can only be seen for what it is from the perfect vantage point on the sidewalk. It changes throughout the day and the year, as the light hits it or passes through it, casting its shadow upon the concrete. Throughout the seasons the insect stands firm against sun, wind, and snow.

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