This February Lexington Art League, unveiled NEW MOON at Triangle Park, Kentucky, as part of Luminosity. Running until 28 March, NEW MOON, by Caitlind r.c. Brown and Wayne Garrett, is an interactive outdoor installation built from steel, electronics, and 5,000 incandescent light bulbs (both new and burnt out). The fourth in a series of light sculptures utilizing re-appropriated domestic light bulbs, the piece is both a departure from the duo’s archetypal CLOUD installations and a further exploration of communal interaction, the social nature of light, and play. Aesthetica speaks to the pair about working in Kentucky and the ideas behind their art.
A: Please can you explain the idea behind NEW MOON?
CrcB & WG: The moon is a mysterious, seductive, and powerful entity. It draws the tides and eclipses the sun, and yet, perhaps by virtue of its relationship with night and darkness, the moon is an intimate celestial body – she casts her silver light as if for each dreamer individually. NEW MOON explores the whimsical and alluring nature of the moon, drawing on the familiarity of moonlight to all people. The moon becomes an allegory for the human fascination with exploration, adventure, and new frontiers, while also gently implicating the darker side of progress: humanities mortal terror of the infinite and unattainable expanses of outer space, and our lack of knowledge of “the dark side”. By manipulating phases of NEW MOON, viewers become time-travelers, individually altering time and space to meet, if only briefly, together in the moonlight.
A: What do you want audiences to take from the piece?
CrcB & WG: For NEW MOON, the Lexington Art League invited the broader Lexington community to donate burnt out light bulbs as materials for the sculpture. This connection, intended to forge an informal relationship with non-artists, reduce costs, and ask audiences to reconsider household items in an artistic context, created an early, process-based connection too often neglected in the sometimes insular practices of artists. Once installed in Triangle Park, the audience is invited to activate the sculpture by manipulating the phases of the moon, causing the sculpture to slowly wax and wane, and casting brilliant white light – like a light house – into the surrounding darkness. In a world inundated with information, advertising, lighting features, and neon signage, our secret hope is to create a new connotation for familiar objects. Our biggest epiphany while building NEW MOON was re-discovering the value of darkness, and its reciprocal relationship with light. Perhaps our viewers will carry this understanding away with them as well…
A: Why did you want to be a part of Luminosity?
CrcB & WG: We initially entered into the world of light-based sculpture-making because we, like so many others, were seduced by the inherent beauty of luminous objects. Human beings (not unlike moths) are physiologically attracted to light. Light produces safety, clarity, and evidence of civilization. Historically, light art has been tied to adaptations of technology, evolving with fluorescent light tubes, sensors, switches, LEDs, and so on. Each artist involved in the Luminosity exhibition has a different story and a different entry point to light. Our entry point is simple and analog – tied to materiality. All that being said, we are exceedingly fortunate to be part of Luminosity because the Lexington Art League created a brand new Residency Program for us, allowing us almost two months in Kentucky to build two new light-based works. They supplied resources, people-power, and a seemingly infinite enthusiasm for our projects. Luminosity as an exhibition proposes a context for four very different light-based artists to unite their work and expose it to a community that has perhaps never experienced light-based art before. In this sense, the exhibition is an experiment, but the subject matter is profoundly accessible.
A: How did you find the experience of working in Kentucky?
CrcB & WG: As western Canadians, we didn’t have many preconceived ideas about Kentucky – it was a complete mystery. We were enticed by the invitation to participate in part because Loudoun House (the 160-year-old mansion that houses the Lexington Art League) is so beautiful, and in part because, while we’ve received many invitation from all around the world to exhibit CLOUD, LAL was willing to close their eyes and trust blindly that we could make something new of equal or greater beauty. After spending a month-and-a-half in Lexington, Kentucky, we love this place. We have been welcomed into the homes of strangers, met brilliant new friends, and been shown unbelievable hospitality. We were surprised by the strength and community-oriented nature of Lexington’s art community – this is a city where something like The Lexington Tattoo Project can happen! Because of the interactive nature of our work, the social climate of a city sets the foundation for everything. Lexington has been remarkably open, curious, and interested, and we’re interested in seeing how this will effect the viewership of Luminosity.
A: What do you have planned for the future?
CrcB & WG: We’re traveling immediately from Lexington to Singapore, to participate in I Light Marina Bay, a festival of light. Coincidentally, one of the other artists in Luminosity is also participating in that show – quite a coup, considering that only 29 artists from around the world were invited! After Singapore, we’re heading home to Calgary for temporary respite before heading overseas again. Wayne will re-kindle his multiple bands, Surf Kitties and The Bitter Weed Draw, and we’ll work on some local projects with our own community, re-charging before new adventures in the imminent future.
Luminosity: Let There Be Light, Triangle Park, Kentucky. More information at www.lexingtonartleague.org.
1. NEW MOON, courtesy the artists and Lexington Art League.