Stuart Keeler and Michael Machnic’s expansive three-panel installation extends across the central lobby of the Mechanical Engineering building. Driving Force is modeled on the concept that energy is the universal link, or the driving force, in components of mechanical engineering throughout time. Keeler and Machnic note, “All machines, and perhaps all physicality that exists, are simply potential pathways for the journey of energy. A machine is simply the thoughtful construct of this path to perform a function.” Keeler and Machnic overlay moon phases, birds in motion, and the ocean’s current system with cogs and gears. In doing so, they illustrate the transformation from natural resource to engineered object.
Keeler and Machnic are a collaborative team who focus on artwork in the built environment. Keeler is a sculptor, writer, curator and has been a visiting lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s art department. His conceptual studio artworks often cross the threshold into the public realm. Machnic’s artwork is frequently participatory. He has been an artist in residence at the John Michael Kohler Art Center. Together, Keeler and Machnic have public artworks located throughout the country.
Driving Force is located on the ceiling in the central lobby of the Mechanical Engineering building.