Chicago Millenimum Park (1 of 2) - The Cloud Gate sculpture / by Martin

Before continuing with posting about my Japanese zoo and aquarium travel I have to throw in two cool  things I saw last weekend in Chicago.

A question for zoo and aquarium educators:
Do you know of an interactive device that works for all ages and for all cultures and that brings awareness to oneself and to the environment around you without needing explanations, and that is also maintenance free
I found it in downtown Chicago in the Millennium Park: a mirror sculpture named the Cloud Gate also nicknamed "The Bean" by Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor . It makes you aware of yourself, the people you are with, the reflected environment, and - most importantly - it is fun to engage with. You can't help waving your arms even if your are 50 feet away to see if you can spot yourself in this mirror sculpture.

Photos below: you can't help but touching it

I couldn't resist either

I saw people of all ages and from all cultures touching this sculpture.

The best of all:  it is not intrusive to the environment it is placed in. It doesn't draw attention to itself, like the Flamingo by Alexander Calder (not to say anything against this great sculpture), instead it reaches out (reflects) and makes you turn around and brings awareness to the reflected skyline. For me, that spells: environmental awareness - make the visitor see - really look, and wake them up to their surroundings - whether it is the skyline of Chicago or a piece of nature, an animal or a large heard of animals....
There must be way to apply this idea to zoos and aquariums....
Ray Robinson, a friend and former colleague of mine,  once told me of a rainforest exhibit he visited in a zoo in Sweden where, when you crossed a bridge, there was a mirror installed to one side that not only gave the illusion of a larger rain forest area but it would also reflect your image back, and you could see yourself standing on the bridge in the midst of lush tropical vegetation. He loved it. I now understand why.

Here is a  video clip of "The Bean" . It ends with a kid doing a handstand against the mirror wall.

It is truly the sculpture of the millennium. Don't miss it if you are in Chicago.
For all photos and videos above: @2010

To quote Chicago-traveler:
Kapoor Sculpture on SBC Plaza (Cloud Gate) video of "The Bean"
A major feature of Millennium Park is the 110-ton elliptical sculpture designed by the celebrated British artist Anish Kapoor, one of the most prolific and respected sculptors in the world. "Cloud Gate," the monumental sculpture located on SBC Plaza was named by the artist on June 29 when the final panel of the elliptical sculpture was installed.

The sculpture is forged of a seamless series of highly-polished stainless steel "plates" that create an elliptically-arched, highly reflective work with Chicago’s skyline and Millennium Park itself as a dramatic backdrop. Visitors will be able to fully experience the majestic nature of the work by literally walking through and around, as it was designed for public interaction. Inspired by liquid mercury, the sculpture is among the largest in the world, measuring 66-feet long by 33-feet high. More info...