Three sites remain in the final stretch of this light odyssey. Reflecting North across the survey collection from eleven latitudes I am reminded of the locality in which this work takes place and the subtlety with which to consider the details. Factors such as near and far topography, the cloud depth and quantity, local materials shaping reflectivity, and weather patterns condition the sun’s light as it reaches the instruments. Framing this collection then is a challenge in format and range. Shown here are four site sample images of light quality captured in the dish from sunrise to sunset. Each sample from the Southern Hemisphere can be read from left to right as time passes from morning to night with each slice taken from the same section in the center of the dish.
In “Les Grandes Epreuves de l’esprit” Henri Michaux states the human need “to overload and un-simplify” which Smiljan Radic refers when introducing his term dissolution construction technique and further illustrates as “unsteady joints, loose nails, oblique angles, rough measurements, splinters, fragility, oversizing, cracks, poverty.”
Valparaiso is an assemblage of dissolution construction techniques resulting in a rich collage of material and soft ambiguity of edges. Metal, wood and corrugated sheet metal are the prevalent city building materials and with portable tools are immediately modifiable, i.e. screw adds and saw edits. The following images are material examples of this directness in resolving what is at hand and one of the foundational characteristics of this city.
Access to industry and proximity to freight
Earth dancing dances dance
Unavoidable lessons of force and motion
Unavoidable lessons of material connection
Unavoidable lessons of spatial negotiations
today I walked Valparaíso’s streets with the question, “how does the sun turn the corner?”
the discovery is a wonderful range of parts and patterns. almost every corner lends itself to parallelograms from tapered streets, repetitive stripes from fencing or gates, and lines with knots from electrical wires above.
in a city where the streets are labyrinths and the topography is varying, sunlight is a valuable indicator to suggest that the seemingly closed pathway in front of you is in fact a connected route.
light of varying edges also speaks to an architecture of components and spaces of complexity. with narrow streets, in comparison to lubbock, texas, these sun-striked pathways with greatly changing shadows are not just theatrical but also performative. since the sun only enters a portion of the city streets, particular areas become concentration destinations depending on the need to warm the body or cool the body.
soy fantástico porque estoy en Valparaíso, Chile otra vez.
the entire city of Valparaiso resonates as a sound box.
flexibility thrives and survives in the earth shaking nature of Valparaiso.
flexibility of architecture, flexibility of movement, flexibility of negotiation.
moving from land to ocean, on a recent trip out into the harbor, the local dock served as an excellent example of flexibility because it materialized simultaneously in the air as in the sea.
two wonderful architects come to mind who intentionally materialize flexibility in their projects; Michael Bier, of Valparaiso, Chile and Lancelot Coar, of University of Manitoba, Canada.
the enticing, theatrical and un-expecting world of flexibility is a world worth living.
Almost four months ago I landed in Calama from Valparaiso, Chile just in time to see the sun disappear over the far horizon.
In the remaining light with no map but knowing direction, I gathered my jeep, which would double as my house for the next eight days, and followed the newly posted, zip-tied to light posts, plastic signs towards Chile’s superfood store, Jumbo. Navigating as quickly as possible the densely packed aisles on that Friday night I grabbed water, peanut butter, bread, solidified apple jelly, juice boxes, snacks and a blanket to cover me in the back. On whim and knowing my seven hour drive probably wouldn’t have consistent streaming radio, I snatched two CD’s from the grab-bin as I checked out. One was BG classics and the other a Latin American music sampler. While I couldn’t even listen through a single BG song, the Latin American sampler was a golden egg. Never would I have thought possible to find gold in Jumbo. This golden music and the pitch blackness of the Atacama desert would keep me company through the 363 km drive. In the high altitude landscape and moon-slivered star-souped sky, I saw flashes of powerful mining plants, small town centers, trucker diners, and sleepless dogs caught in the cone of sodium lights. This is how I would travel the Pan American highway North and South, in the blackest of blacks. And anything that made a presences did so with sharp contrast against a stark surrounding and with lyrical Latin American singing in the background. I couldn’t remember the last place I spent that much space+time with blackness and it was beautiful. Moving from dense energetic sensory stuffed Valparaiso community to the indiscernible vast stretches of the Atacama in solitude was poetic. But as quickly as the songs arrived, they would leave as as I failed to collect the CD on one of my hopscotches around Europe the remaining three weeks before returning to Lubbock. These last three months I have thought of that sound-space often but with no time and Jumbo’s website leaving me no leads it was fading memory. So today, in total reunion style and only after considering I had left the CD with friends, did I received an email with the missed sound list and their authors: Quilapayun, Congreso, Sol y Lluvia, Patricio Manns, Angel Parra, Quilapayun, Osvaldo Rodriguez, Carmen Prieto, Violeta Parra, Victor Jara, Leon Gieco, Inti-Illimani, Mercedes Sosa, and Los Jaivas.
i return the the states with exquisite cockroaches and poodles. some will easily be identified as valuable beauty while others may require a frame and lens in which to see the same potential.
a dream from a few nights ago still sits with me after many between:
it is necessary we travel. myself and another woman are preparing our animals to caravan across the arid region for many days. our animals are of two herds, the cockroaches and the poodles. the poodles require little in way of our attention so all of our care is spent on the cockroaches. on clinic white tables, we tend to the final two in an attentive routine. with two chopstick-like extensions i massage the cockroach to sleep on its back and proceed to tenderly examine its shell and body. after checking for abrasions and abnormalities to be treated, i lightly tap the body repeatedly to tune the cockroach for the changes ahead. all the while admiring the dark amber shell, thin spindle legs and fine antennae extensions that make up this creature.
the common portrayal of good and evil as beauty and ugly respectively is limiting and short sighted. i completely dismiss the single nature simplicity that beautiful equates to good and ugly equates to evil. instead, both conditions exist simultaneous and it is in the exchange that either beauty surfaces or recedes. Sun Ra poetically spoke about good and evil embodied in every human during his 1971 Berkeley course. to him it was the action not the label that determined whether one was going to better the world.