Time in the Landscape.
Often times we are incognizant of the changes that take place in the landscape around us. This is so true that we suddenly realize one day that some thing or place that we once knew, has completely changed or disappeared. Our most recent project ‘Elements of Time’ existed so that we could experiment with a process that would make these subtle time changes ‘visible’.
My group was assigned fire. We were to create an installation in the UT gardens. As it is, fire is not the safest thing to leave unattended, nor is it the safest thing to have around me. Therefore, we decided to use light as our fire, since the majority of our light is created by fire (the sun) or electricity (apx. 80% of our electricity is from the burning of coal).
Our design highlighted the sun. Often times people are unaware of it location in the sky, its subtle climbing and descending throughout the day, and its trajectory in the sky as the seasons change. For the most part, people go throughout their day inside with blinds closed and lights on unaware of the suns existence. Our design comprised of two mesh sleeves filled with leaves. These sleeves were hung in a dark, color neutral area. The first sleeve was hung in a vertically positioned arc shape. This shape and position was in direct relation to the trajectory of the sun in summer for our region. The second sleeve was tilted down in order to reference the predictable change that occurs during the winter months in our area. In winter, the sun casts longer shadows and rides lower in the sky, making for shorter days.
After hanging these sleeves we then filled them with three colors of leaves. Yellow, Orange, and Red. The center of the sleeves was filled with the bright yellow leaves from Gingko trees and leaves from Cacti. On each side of the yellow we placed bright orange leaves from a Sugar Maple. Finally, on each end we placed bright red leaves from a Black Gum tree. This change of color from center to end represented the effects of the sun as it moved throughout the sky each day. Typically, when the sun is highest, colors are blasted out by the suns bright intensity. As the sun sets, (or rises) a time named the ‘golden hour’ is created. This special time generates a colorful palette of oranges and reds. Shadows are long, light is low, and the lighting creates a calming sense of place.
The color changes also served to reflect the changes of leaf color as winter sets in. As the sun’s time in the sky is reduced, certain pigments in leaves are given room to express their color. As the installation changes over time we hypothesize that the leaves will fade in color and loose these colorful pigments as the leaves die. This quick loss of color will make apparent the slow process of fall.