ABOVE: Stratosphere, 2022. Stainless steel with gold powder-coating,12 ft. diameter. Museum purchase with additional funds from Woolsey Hall.
Stratosphere by the Oakland, California-based artist duo HYBYCOZO (Serge Beaulieu and Yelena Filipchuk) is a commission created by the artists specifically for the WSU campus as the 86th piece in the Martin H. Bush Outdoor Sculpture Collection. The piece is sited near the Wayne and Kay Woolsey Hall, the brand new home of the Barton School of Business. HYBYCOZO stands for “Hyperspace Bypass Construction Zone.” The name is an allusion to the Douglas Adams science fiction book, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and captures the artists’ shared interests in the many dimensions of geometry, natural patterns found from the microscopic to the cosmic scale, and advanced manufacturing and fabrication.
Stratosphere has a geometric form inspired by the molecular structure of Buckminsterfullerene, an allotrope of carbon named in honor of Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983), visionary architect, thinker, and writer best known for his invention of the geodesic dome, which the molecule resembles. Fuller also had an important connection to Wichita: it was here that in the mid-1940s, he first developed the concept of the Dymaxion House—his vision for a resource-efficient and inexpensive modular home. The sculpture also reflects Wichita’s history and aspirations through the pattern cut into each of its facets, evoking shapes associated with wheat stalks, airplanes, wind motion, and the stars referenced in the Kansas state motto. Together, these elements produce a distinctive image whose impact is magnified by large, intricate shadows the sculpture casts when it is lit up from inside at night.
Join us for an artist talk with Serge Beaulieu and Yelena Filipchuk of HYBYCOZO at Woolsey Hall, date to be announced.