Beloved Stanford sculpture inspires reflection and honors resilience
“I was baffled by the beauty that erupted from these moving colors. … For the first time in my life, I saw beauty in finance. Even in the depth of money and numbers, someone managed to bring out emotion.”
— Louise Fleischer, graduate student in aeronautics/astronautics
The earliest sculptures in Stanford’s famed outdoor collection proclaim the university’s mission by depicting individuals: the Stanford family, its founders, and such great minds as Johann Gutenberg and Benjamin Franklin, enshrined in white marble atop what is now Wallenberg Hall.
Key to all these individuals – and to Stanford – are qualities of creativity, persistence and resilience. They too, are evoked by a sculpture on campus, only five years old but already a Stanford favorite.
Peter Wegner’s Monument to Change as it Changes occupies a wall outside Zambrano Hall of the Graduate School of Business’ Knight Management Center. It consists of 2,048 sets of colored chips programmed to flip into varying patterns, each pattern unique within an eight-hour period.
Wegner, who created Monument to Change as it Changes among a suite of companion works for the Knight Management Center’s 2011 opening, lists its materials as “steel, polycarbonate and time.”
“Usually, monuments commemorate past events,” Wegner wrote after the sculpture’s unveiling. “But what if a monument instead commemorated the process of change?
“European train stations use this technology to announce arrivals and departures. Here, the destination is always color and always changing.”
Monument to Change as it Changes honors the GSB’s commitment to preparing its students for a future that is always changing. It’s a commitment shared throughout Stanford. Accordingly, people throughout Stanford find meaning in its procession of colors and serenity in the gentle clicking of the chips as they move.
Sarah Beller, ’15, chanced upon the piece as a stressed-out freshman exploring the campus.
“As the pieces spin, the cards make a soft clicking sound, which reminds me of the rain on my roof at home.
“That day freshman year I spent an hour sitting in front of the piece watching and listening as the patterns moved.”
After two years, Monument to Change as it Changes is still my favorite piece of art at Stanford, and it has become my go-to spot when I need to calm down and take a break from school and work.”
— Sarah Beller, ’15
It and the other Wegner pieces at the GSB are distributed in a town-square atrium that encourages members of the community to pause and enjoy their surroundings.
Through Monument to Change as it Changes, they learn that a concept or value can be expressed in many ways: through the arts, through product innovation, through leadership.
It encourages them to stop and think, a first step before creativity can begin.
Learn more about outdoor sculpture at Stanford on the Campus Arts Map.