frances peterson, kevin sullivan
austin texas


The character of place emerges from the relationship between the people who inhabit its form, materiality, and context--all of which are ultimately the quiet products of a place’s geology. Austin is uniquely positioned at the intersection of the Blackland Prairie to the east and the Edwards Aquifer to the west. Karst features, commonly found at this intersection of geologies, are formations created by the movement of water underground.

M e a n d e r is envisioned as a fssure in a supernatural aquifer. Like water in underground caves, fows of visitors have symbolically eroded and carved a whimsical passageway. The installation is tactile and playful, encouraging people to walk through the dangling tendrils within the cave. Located in the tunnel beneath 11th street, m e a n d e r is composed of 3,000 1” ribbons of fuorescent marking tape varying in length. The ribbon is hung from a metal wire lattice secured to the ceiling of the tunnel with temporary supports. Black lights mounted within the tunnel vibrantly illuminate the ribbons, creating a
surreal experience.

Entering the tunnel from the south, visitors move through an intimate path creating a gateway into Symphony Square. Though m e a n d e r guides visitors along a path, the design intentionally invites and encourages people to walk freely through the ribbons, promoting interaction and discovery. In the middle of the tunnel, the ribbons shorten to create an impressive vaulted “room”. Visitors continue north through the installation to dramatically emerge into Symphony Square.

M e a n d e r will transform a lifeless piece of infrastructure into a mystical and captivating interactive experience. Creating a moment for discovery and wonderment, m e a n d e r will also subtly reveal the invisible forces responsible for the natural features that all Austinites cherish.