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.
Once again daylight is increasing and nights are getting shorter.
Arrived in the Southern hemisphere where each shift south continues along the longitudinal arc of the earth as it revolves around our closest star in this six month dance with the sun. Within this calculated repetition of earth around the sun and moon around the earth, the light on land is anything but predictable. Local topography and weather treat the sun rays as regional pallets. Vast distances give way to elements that shape and shift the rays as they make their way to ground. This post shares images and drawings made when looking closely at the stratification in our atmosphere, conditions of the sky, and some of the effecting clouds from above.
More than once this opening line from J.G. Ballard’s “The Drowned World” rang through my mind. The further South I drove the more I foresaw entering a world where continued heat, check points, and the Darien Gap consumed my energy and time, leaving me in jeopardy of missing scheduled light documentation and ultimately the December 21 solstice in Ushaia.
Project Update: back in CA for a quick month to arrange vehicle shipment from California to Peru, and Light 110 continues with a new “North + South of the Tropics” itinerary.
Traveling solo south in Baja California increasingly consumed more time than the project schedule afforded. I soon found myself facing what comparatively was a black hole event horizon, demanding within nine weeks I acquire nine project sites documentation each averaging four days, cross nine borders, and arrange a symphony of logistical puzzle pieces to overcome the infamous Darien Gap (think shipping containers, terminal fees, limited language).
Bypassing latitudes between the Tropic of Cancer and Topic of Capricorn stockpiles time on the Southern Hemisphere.
Gain – this new itinerary provides time to process, create, and summarize images gathered from the seven sites and seventy four days spent in the Northern Hemisphere. Also looking forward to following up with, reaching out to, and visiting resources I missed on the first round. Anyhow, there is always 2016 to run a Light 110 “Between the Tropics” excursion, grant funding pending.
Fortunate weather and calm sea allowed for a quick arrival to the second project site. Good people recommending good places got us to Kyuqout Inn on the coastal edge of the 50th latitude. Far away lands are not so remote when one arrives to strong coffee, electricity, and internet. An enchanting fifteen minute hike gets us to the rocky ledge that serves as the location for light documentation over the next few days. Although enchantment may not be the term used when transporting three tripods, bowls, and a couple of packs by foot – underscore the importance to keep light gear light. Keeping pace with the sun equates to roughly one site documentation per week for the next twenty three weeks. Equally important is keeping pace with documentation processing, critic, and analysis. It is a small triumph then to post some samplings from site N55 taken during a couple hour stretch around sunrise, solar noon, and sunset.
A quick desktop study of light acting upon and within primary forms of an accordion canopy, asymmetrical shed, and modified cones for Loop 289 proposal. Documented from below captures the varying shadows casted from the shifting light illuminating the form as it contrasts against the dark binding walls of the sliver space.
Interesting to note the various light results within the cones as orientation, stacking, and compression differ across the series and each study.
It is unfortunate most of our buildings produce solid monolithic shadows to be casted across the land. Shadows are a great way to register a building’s characteristic, or lack there of. A quick pan for articulated shadows of Lubbock’s landscape in google maps revealed most compelling shadows are a result from industry or infrastructure structures. Structures with a combination of space and material, varying geometries, or pronounced building skins casted the best shadows in contrast to the standard house or commercial block that consisted of a single mass and simple shadow profile.
One afternoon earlier this year I set out to discover shadows that recorded three scales of what occurred behind me: micro (of my hair), macro (structures above me), celestial (sunlight as the source). The result was a refreshing mixture of various patterns, density, order and tonality.
At 70 mph and timed right with the setting sun’s golden hour the wind turbine farm along HWY 84 between Lubbock and Dallas performs, and can be appreciated, just as Walter De Maria’s The Lightning Field in New Mexico.
Only when placed in repetition, like one sees in wind turbine farms, Dia Art Foundation work, or harbor ports, do I appreciate the obstruction of a pole in the landscape. It is unfortunate then to observe installation of utility lighting as single steel stadium-like poles along the Marsha Sharp highway extension in Lubbock, Texas instead of lights suspended from lattice tower structures. The primary organization of these stadium-like poles is a factor of the road condition, such as highway overpasses increase light needs, instead for example the distance between poles determined as a factor of wind dynamics across turbine blades.
With lattice tower structures you have two opportunities of reading the structure:
one to see the object, and two, to see through the object.
One can not see through a utility pole. Instead you are left with a singular condition, just the object itself. Additionally lattice tower structures are able to use smaller steel members, such as 1.5″ angle iron, to achieve the open airy matrix. Lattice tower structures probably require more labor for assembly but the monolithic poles as objects alone offer no relationship of scaling between the person and environment. We are left with just the object, no space, rather than a relationship or material, space, and landscape.
Five lanes is the standard width for Lubbock main streets: four driving lanes and a medium or turning lane in the center. Standard street width of twelve feet over five lanes results in sixty feet total driving width. Although lane width and duplication may assist to keep traffic moving fast as soon as one exists their vehicle this city roadway system and corresponding urban building makes for an expansive, vacant, always full of potential but ultimately awkward environment.
Alleyways in Lubbock provide a polarizing opposite experience.
Alleyways in Lubbock collectively make an urban Secret Garden, that is the garden prior to being cultivated and groomed. Here the garden is sliced into strips, organized East-West and evenly distributed throughout the city. The larger orientation of seemingly endless views formed by urban alignment strikes an enjoyable balance with random plants and material edges. Spatially, meandering through alleys is more interesting because the width is a relatively narrow fifteen feet and variation occurs over smaller increments presenting a far more complex and diverse environment.
Lubbock alley infrastructure challenges typical urban front-back relations. Unfortunately Main street and buildings typically honor the vehicular facade where excessively vast and predictable street faces create visual continuity but passive spatial environments. Alternatively alleys offer more interest to the person because of the material collage, inventiveness, variation, and diversity. Wonder created from the context draws in one’s focus and offers dialogue with one’s imagination.