Balanced precariously on the edge of a new project, Wayne Garrett and I are plotting, preparing, researching, designing, testing, and finalizing plans to build a temporary artificial sun on Stephen Avenue in downtown Calgary – SOLAR FLARE – on exhibit for the months of December and January 2013/14. Inspired in part by a growing assortment of sun art created internationally – not the least of which is the unparalleled sun installation by Olafur Eliasson, aptly titled The Weather Project – SOLAR FLARE is our first foray into semi-long term public artwork, ad-hock fiber optics, and the specific social effects of light.
The project we are designing is a solar-powered sun sculpture attempting to artificially prolong “golden hour” into the longest and coldest nights of the year. Commissioned by the Calgary Downtown Association, the piece will be activated by viewers as they pass beneath. With many experiments and calculations ahead, SOLAR FLARE is a daunting and exciting project proposing a temporary interjection into the early darkness of the winter nights surrounding the solstice. Through the installation, we hope to explore the social elements of light – particularly warm light – and its power to draw together diverse communities to bask in its glow.
The third in a series of large-scale light sculptures created by Calgarian artists Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett, SOLAR FLARE pays homage to an emerging genre of sun-themed works by quintessential light artists, attempting to catch and re-create an artificial semblance of the brightest and most essential celestial body known to earth. Whether this pursuit is a fallacy, a God complex, or an attempt to suspend time itself, SOLAR FLARE invites audiences to reconsider a familiar space and engage with their city in a different light – after darkness falls.
SOLAR FLARE is sponsored by the Calgary Downtown Association.