Using light as a sculptural material, LIGHT KEEPER draws from lighthouse lenses and analog projection technology to create waves of rainbow light and a Moon Clock beamed onto the urban porch of Aitken Place Park. Taking its name from the keepers who maintain lighthouses, the installation speaks to light as a medium for sending messages across vast dark spaces, helping vessels find their way, and signalling danger or change ahead. During the day, the artwork stands as a mirrored obelisk, reflecting the surrounding environment of the park space, awaiting the sunset. After dark, this public artwork illuminates, inviting viewers to bask in its glow.
The lenses and optical mechanisms used for LIGHT KEEPER were created in-house by Caitlind Brown, Wayne Garrett, and Studio North. When it comes right down to it, we were always going to have to tune the optics of LIGHT KEEPER onsite in Toronto. The distance from the lens to the concrete, the angle of the moon as it moves, the speed the rainbows cross the concrete, the specific wiring, the final programming – all of this needed to be done onsite at night, carefully tailored to the geometries and environment of the surrounding park.
The structure of LIGHT KEEPER was fabricated by F&D Scene Changes, with stainless steel by Reggin Industries. Like every other element of the artwork, the structure went through a series of designs before landing on an open-faced, mirrored, prism-like form. We were able to test a low-fi prototype of this design (titled Device for Summoning…
With LIGHT KEEPER, we began by considering light, sight, and site, especially in relation to Lake Ontario (a stone’s throw from the public work’s final resting place). Lake Ontario is one of a handful of lakes in the world large enough to experience the pull of the moon, transpiring in tides – albeit, very small tides – a mere 1,640 km3 of lake water drawn to the gravitational pull of earth’s nearest celestial body: the moon.
Despite our long-time interest in optics, developing LIGHT KEEPER came with its fair share of complexity. Our lens is based on the beautiful fresnels seen in lighthouses, but its intention is opposite: instead of focusing light and beaming it over a great distance, it divides and refracts light, moving it in rainbow waves across the…
Drawing from lighthouse lenses and analog projection technologies, LIGHT KEEPER deconstructs traditional optics to create a moon clock, rainbow waves, and a prism tower in Aitken Place Park.
At the beginning of our collaborative process, we were just interested in working together. Our team is comprised of artists and architectural designers, approaching public art with a shared interest in public space.