Monument to Fallen Stars, 2017, Caitlind r.c. Brown and Wayne Garrett, Cobra Head street lamps, platform, telescope, mirror. The footprint of the work is 110 feet in diameter within the larger lot, reaching to the height of a mirror four storeys up on an adjacent building. Located at the intersection at 4th Avenue and 5th Street S.W., southwest corner.
Visit unusual locations and rethink winter nightlife during Calgary’s newest visual arts festival. Search out the unused, fenced-off parking lot on the corner of 4th Avenue and 5th Street S.W. to enter the temporary nocturnal art installation, Monument to Fallen Stars, by Caitlind r.c. Brown and Wayne Garrett.
The ground appears to be a graveyard of over 70 decommissioned city streetlights. The bulky, traditional Cobra Head light fixtures (retrofitted with LED lighting) are scattered, belly up. The fragile glass Fresnel lenses that recently diffused the yellowish glow of high-pressure sodium lamps onto city streets now face skyward.
A few lamps power-up slowly with clicks, flickers and buzz. Some burn golden; some pink or white. Five to 12 dazzle at a time, then cool down as others cycle up. If you pay attention, you might decode each network as a constellation. The air might be filled with ice crystals, intensifying the edges of light beams. You might have a turn at the telescope aimed at a distant mirror. If not, the experience of the sensory re-cast context for the defunct fixtures is enough to prompt thoughts about skyglow and the upside down nature of hubris.
This piece is one of 11 works in the inaugural GLOW Downtown Winter Light Festival, hosted by Downtown Calgary, Feb. 17 to 20, 2017, 6:30 to 11 p.m. nightly. For more information visit calgarydowntown.com.
Calgary artists Brown and Garrett present this new artwork as part of GLOW Downtown Winter Light Festival after participating in more than 15 light festivals abroad, including Prague, Singapore and Portugal. They began collaborating in 2011 after working with the irreverent collective, Arbour Lake Sghool. With appreciation for the artwork of colleague Lane Shordee, and internationally renowned artists Olafur Eliasson and Anthony McCall, they share an interest in light, the metaphor of materials (especially what’s possible through re-appropriation), and what they call “strange beauty.”