Sunday, December 21, 2014

traffic lights

Thought behind the thought:

As I waited patiently for the traffic signal to turn green one day, a whole army of cars and scooters and buses even, whizzed past me, as if the traffic lights were non existent.

It set me thinking about the purpose behind making rules, and the reason behind people not following them. Maybe, I thought, Rules are for the likes of me, who are 'followers', not 'rule makers'. Maybe I will never understand that people who can make their own rules, need not bother about rules that others have made, for their own safety!

I am sure I sound cynical as I write this, but for these rule breakers, Traffic lights will remain a source of entertainment while mere mortals look at them to guide them towards a safe journey.

But, on a lighter note, traffic lights could indeed become a source of joy and liven up the dreary road landscape, like the sculpture installed on a busy traffic roundabout in London, now removed.

 The Traffic Light tree created by French sculptor Pierre Vivant 

About the Art: 

The Traffic Light tree was created by French sculptor Pierre Vivant following a competition run by the Public Art Commissions Agency. It was situated on a roundabout near Canary Wharf, in one of London's financial districts.

Eight metres tall and containing 75 sets of lights, each controlled by computer, Vivant described the project thus:

"The sculpture imitates the natural landscape of the adjacent London Plane Trees, while the changing pattern of the lights reveals and reflects the never ending rhythm of the surrounding domestic, financial and commercial activities."

The Public Art Commission Agency said that "The arbitrary cycle of light changes is not supposed to mimic the seasonal rhythm of nature, but the restlessness of Canary Wharf."

The Traffic Light tree was installed in 1998 on the site of a plane tree, that was suffering as a result of pollution. It was initially intended that the lights would be triggered to reflect flurries of activity on the London Stock Exchange, but this proved to be too expensive to put into practice.

Although some motorists were initially confused by the traffic lights, mistaking them for real signals, the sculpture soon became a favourite among both tourists and locals. In 2005,Saga Motor Insurance commissioned a survey asking British motorists about the best and worst roundabouts in the country. The Traffic Light tree was the clear favourite.

Photo and information crtedits: 

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