Comatose robot symbolizes the de-industrialization of America

This huge, comatose robot sculpture graces the quad at the University of Alabama:

But the artwork and its sculptor - UA graduate student Joe McCreary - have a serious story to tell. Goldie symbolizes the closing of Birmingham's Sloss Furnaces in 1972 and America's passage into the post-industrial era. The robot is not so much dead or sleeping as turned off.

"The robot's been decommissioned, shut off," McCreary says. "It's not needed anymore..."

In some ways, Goldie reflects all the shut-down equipment that visitors can see at Sloss. Tons of equipment left over from the furnaces' heyday still litter the site.

"All around the site there's heavy equipment - locomotive cranes, big scoops - that's been decommissioned," says McCreary, who earned a B.F.A. from the University of Southern Mississippi. "They're points of interest for the walking tour of the site. The idea is that the robot is a simulacrum for the people who worked at the furnaces and are no longer there. Then there's the bigger picture of the iron industry in this country - how it's slowly in decline."

Woods Quad Robot Sculpture Draws Attention, Provokes Thought (Thanks, Chris!)