Permanently installed on the school’s campus in San Marcos, Fish Bellies is a sort of contemporary jungle gym that resembles a school of glowing fish. Commissioned to celebrate the diversity of Texas State University’s campus, O’Connell and Hancock drew inspiration from the nearby San Marcos River, which is equally as diverse as the student body. It’s ecological makeup includes the Texas Blind Salamander, the Fountain Darter and Texas Wild Rice, a rare species of grass.
Made from layers of frosted acrylic secured together by stainless steel bolts, the 12 interlocking forms are embedded with colour-changing LEDs. The larger-than-life modules feature room-like compartments equipped with a pair of touch-sensitive controllers that allow students and passersby to change the colours.
During the day visitors can nab a spot for an al fresco lunch or cram for an exam. But Fish Bellies is best visited at night, when the sculptures shine brightest; and when it’s most fun to climb and rest (and post pictures on Instagram) on the shapely forms.