Roanoke Resident John Woodrum created Telesis: The Resilient Anchor for this call.
This sculpture is made up of one giant mirrored orb, eight railroad tracks and four thick dock ropes. The four thick ropes represent the word “telesis” and are held together by the strength and unity of the community with its fascinating ability to bond together the bent railroad tracks. The tracks and base are constructed from recycled foam. The orb itself is made up of two repurposed hemisphere domes from a pre-existing building.
Telesis: The Resilient Anchor, 2021
Dock Ropes, Railroad Ties, Security Dome Mirrors & Recycled Foam
This sculpture is made up of one giant mirrored orb, six railroad tracks, three braided dock ropes and four railroad ties. The four railroad ties represent the word “telesis” as it is the foundation held together by the strength and unity of the community with its fascinating ability to blend in with its surrounding landscape. The bent tracks and railroad sign are constructed from recycled foam. The orb itself is made up of two repurposed security dome mirrors.
In an attempt to give form to a new vision of Roanoke, I followed my passion for industrial design along with my grassroots of living here in the star city. In order to sculpt a new perspective with repurposed materials for Re-Imagining Roanoke, I began brainstorming for initial concepts by taking introspective walks around downtown Roanoke while absorbing the surrounding visual elements. One night while walking directly across the street from the downtown library in Elmwood Park, I had an epiphany when I suddenly noticed a one-of-a-kind red light post glaring above me. This light pole’s base shape had caught my eye and shed a significant light upon myself and my overall design. To see the inspiration for this sculpture, simply walk across Jefferson Street to the Patrick Henry Hotel Parking lot and look for a tall light post that is painted red. Walk up to the bottom base of it to see the similarities with Telesis.
The word “telesis” is the popularized thought that people and the land make up the surrounding environment as it is today, which has four distinct parts. A place to live, a place to work, a place to play, and the services which integrate and make them operate. These four parts are symbolized in the four railroad ties seen at the foundation of Telesis. The sociologist Lester Frank Ward coined the word “telesis” and emphasized the importance of social forces which could be guided at a macro-level using intelligence to achieve conscious progress. In essence, Telesis is a purposeful utilization of the processes of nature and society to obtain particular goals.
I hope that looking towards the future, one will see this sculpture and be inspired to create a new idea or project with locally sourced materials. The vertical railroad tracks represent the historical context of trains throughout the area. The entirety of this sculpture is held in unison by the three braided dock ropes which are ultimately supporting and protecting the mirrored orb inside. The mirrored orb displays the viewer’s own reflection, imagination and vision within the city.