University of Wisconsin–Madison

The Installation of Ubiquitous

The newest piece of public art on the UW-Madison campus now graces the lobby of the Genetics-Biotechnology Center, recently installed by a team from Facilities Planning & Management.

Electricians, painters, plasterers, and other FP&M employees worked together to install Ubiquitous: Migration of Pathogens, a large-format work of art created by alumna Pamela Caughey. Each of the three etched glass panels measures 6 feet by 4 feet.

Caughey, who graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in Biochemistry, said she chose this location because her study of science at UW-Madison had a large impact on the piece itself.

“There’s a lot of chemistry and a lot of science involved in art,” Caughey said.

Caughey said Ubiquitous shows how the migration and transmission of pathogens are facilitated by humans in the modern world through mass travel.

Ubiquitous takes the form of layered etched glass paneling, something that proved challenging to work with, said Patty Brown, facility manager for the Genetics-Biotechnology Center.

When the piece originally arrived on campus it had been damaged during shipping and had to be repaired on site, Brown said. After the repair, it took the expertise and collaboration of entire team of FP&M employees to successfully install the piece of art.

Daniel Einstein, FP&M Historic and Cultural Resources Manager, said that there were complications during the installation process. Before the artwork could be installed, the wall had to be reinforced, refinished, and repainted in order to make sure the piece would be secure.

Caughey recognizes the work put into securing her piece and said she is extremely happy with the investment and effort that the FP&M team put into the location of the installation.

Communication amongst the different craftsworkers on the FP&M team helped make this project a success. However, this communication can often be underestimated, Einstein said.

“Making sure that all the shops are communicating and that everyone understands what the sequence is and is prepared to do their part is what a lot of people don’t understand,” Einstein said. “But the FP&M team did a great job.”

Brown agreed with Einstein saying that the communication between herself and the FP&M employees was something that contributed to the seamless installation process. “We had continuous communication,” Brown said. “We kept each other in the loop and the installation went great.”

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