Thursday, October 16, 2008

Day 118: Gaining perspective

view from road to Los Alamos (click to enlarge)

We are back in Santa Fe after our expedition to the Lightning Field. The piece is located at 7200 ft., which definitely qualifies as high desert. Last night's clear sky afforded a most dramatic opportunity to watch both the sun and moon rise and set within 12 hours. It also sent the temperatures dipping into the teens. We shared our awe of the landscape, the challenges of keeping the fire in the cabin burning, and the pleasures of drinking gallons of hot tea (while witnessing these celestial bodies in motion) with 4 art loving Germans from Hamburg. It was a joy and the most time we have spent outside, directly engaged with the landscape yet. We slowed down and wandered the perimeter of the work, which took over two hours. The setting and rising of the light turns the poles (ranging in height from 15 ft to 26ft) into spindles of crystal and seemingly musical bodies- and then dramatically sends all 400 of them into silence disappearance almost simultaneously.

The landscape of the west is so varied and extreme, and that it isn't hard to understand why so many varied and extreme (ranging between sublime to toxic) land uses have been activated upon it. While in Los Alamos on Tuesday it seemed obvious why the location was chosen for the Manhattan Project. There is no doubt that it was remote and isolated enough for the scientists to think bigger thoughts and for them to sense that their work could, and should, reach beyond their relatively infinitesimal space and time.

It appears that it is still from these landscapes that humans continue to imagine (and invent) the previously unimaginable.

1 comment:

nc said...

AH, so pretty! And yet...such a strange/varied/surreal history.

'Place' is a real trip.