Illuminating downtown: Work continues to install “Interoculus” as part of Exhibit Columbus

Mike Wolanin | The Republic A contractor works on the support structure for Exhibit Columbus installation InterOculus at the intersection of 4th and Washington streets in Columbus, Ind., Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023.

As the opening weekend for Exhibit Columbus nears, contractors working on one of a very unique Miller Prize projects expect to finish installing the piece early next week.

Taylor Bros. Construction estimates that “Interoculus” — a canopy-like structure designed by Practice for Architecture and Urbanism — will be complete on Tuesday, said project manager Brian Starnes. The exhibit is located at Fourth and Washington streets.

“We anticipate the intersection opening Tuesday, sometime Tuesday, and possibly some intermediate opening in between today and Tuesday, kind of just depending on how painting progresses,” Starnes said. “That’s a bit of an unknown, at this point in time, on whether or not we could do some partial openings.”

He said Wednesday that “steel support structure installation” would continue over the next couple of days, with the company expecting to have the structure up by today. Painting is expected to start today, with the fabric covering added to the piece on Tuesday.

Duke Energy removed streetlights and wire from poles at the intersection in late July, and Signal Construction removed traffic signals as well.

Columbus Executive Director of Public Works Dave Hayward said in a previous interview that Fourth and Washington will remain an all-way stop for the time being, with city officials reevaluating the site once “Interoculus” has been removed.

According to a description of the project, the installation’s canopy form, celebratory purpose and “equitable invitation” were derived from an extensive community engagement process and are inspired by a variety of influences, including the Pantheon in Rome, “local carnival vernacular,” ice cream sundaes from Zaharakos, and Miami and Shawnee wigwams.

“By recycling the intersection’s existing street poles and piggybacking on their infrastructure, the design seeks to create an egalitarian visual and physical destination that revitalizes downtown day and night through the experiences of suspension, projection, and illumination,” according to the description.