LIGHT KEEPER (2019) by Caitlind r.c. Brown, Wayne Garrett, and Studio North. Commissioned by Waterfront Toronto for Aitken Place Park, Toronto, Canada.
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 across 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. Designed for a public park on the shore of Lake Ontario, LIGHT KEEPER takes on new meaning against the bright metropolis of Toronto, referencing the disappearance of natural phenomenon from urban spaces. Spectral waves shift speed in accordance with the wind. The moon changes phases with the moon in the night sky, often unseen above the dense skyline and glow of the city. Alluding to interspaces between manmade + natural, placemaking + wayfinding, urban + environmental, LIGHT KEEPER attempts to capture and keep the ephemeral light that cities threaten to overwhelm.
AFTER IMAGE, Lane Shordee, Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett, 2019. Painted steel and plants. Commissioned by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts in partnership with the cSPACE Projects. cSPACE King Edward, Calgary, Canada.
AFTER IMAGE is an architectural apparition designed for the public park south of cSPACE King Edward. Emulating the historic grand entrance of King Edward School, the sculpture forms a wireframe of the archway, replicated 100 feet from its origin. As the years pass, indigenous plants and bushes will sprout up through the cage of the sculpture, and vines will wrap its shiny façade, becoming increasingly overgrown in time. Similar to how an imprint of light remains visible on the retina after you have blinked or looked away, AFTER IMAGE marks both a presence and an absence, offering a ghost manifestation King Edward School’s historic entrance. AFTER IMAGE transposes a single moment onto a growing garden, using plants as an analogy for how memories change, and situating the sculpture halfway between that which is remembered and that which is forgotten.
AFTERGLOW / Aftergrowth, Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett, 2019. Roofing nails, prismatic offcuts, dead tree. Commissioned by The Drake Devonshire, Wellington, Ontario, Canada.
AFTERGLOW / Aftergrowth uses 5000 hand-punched reflective offcuts from a municipal street sign shop to ornament the dead stump in the parking lot of The Drake Devonshire in a luminous shroud for the afterlife. Dotted lines trace the contours of the bark, illuminating the stretch marks of the tree as it grew. During the day, the artwork appears like a delicate infestation, almost bedazzled in the sunlight. At night, the piece glows for car headlights and flash photos, capturing the aura of the maple trunk while it radiantly rots. Drawing a relationship between the offcuts of cities and the offcuts of nature, AFTERGLOW / Aftergrowth is a (de)composition of decadent decay.
Select artworks from The Hibernation Project by Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett, 2019. Domestic intervention, various materials and scales.
The Hibernation Project was a 12-week domestic intervention occurring every weekend from January – March 2019. A tool for embracing (or combating) Winter in Calgary, the project was intended as a gratifying, productive, and immediate experience for 30 artists participants, free from bureaucracy and the pressure of perfection – a gestation period for ideas, for workshopping concepts, for the dreams of we who wake to sleep. Visit the The Hibernation Project blog to view all artworks.
Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, Lane Shordee, Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett, 2018. Custom hourglasses, brass, steel, electronics, microcomputers, sand. Commissioned by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts in partnership with the cSPACE Projects. cSPACE King Edward, Calgary, Canada.
Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow visualizes the complex passage of time as it relates to the cSPACE King Edward, a historic sandstone school turned art space. 105 hourglasses are suspended overhead – one for each year from the building’s construction in 1912 until it reopened as cSPACE in 2017. Speaking to the difference between time as a pragmatic measurement (Chronos) and time as an experience (Kairos), half the hourglasses measure universal time like a clock, and half measure personal increments of time collected through a public Time Gathering. Ranging from “THE TIME IT TAKES TO call mom” to “THE TIME IT TAKES TO realize it was just a dream and you are no longer lying next to me,” brass tags attached to various hourglasses indicate the increment of time being measured in sand.
The sand itself was crushed from sandstone bricks collected during cSPACE’s renovations. Smashed, ground, sifted, mixed, and measured into each hand-blown hourglass, the sand tracks 0 seconds to 4 hours in hourglasses measuring 5 inches to 2 feet in height. Hourglasses flip automatically on mechanisms as the sand runs out. Viewers who frequent the space will eventually learn to read these movements as the ticking of an intricate clock, mapping universal time in relation to abstract, personal measurements of time. Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow uses the hourglass as a symbol of non-linear time, drawing a relationship between the past, transitional present, and the uncertain future yet to come.
Delta Garden + The City Unseen, Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett, 2018. Concrete, sandblasting, brass monuments. 25,000 sq ft. Commissioned by Calgary Public Art. West Eau Claire Park, Calgary, Canada.
Delta Garden + The City Unseen uses 12,000 brass survey monuments to create a shimmering river of sediment, curling through a delta-shaped garden on the south bank of Calgary’s Peace Bridge. Survey monuments are used to pinpoint coordinates, establish property lines, and assist surveyors in mapping the landscape. But what happens when the landscape itself is not solid? Given enough time, mountain ranges shift, wildfires reshape forests, and rivers snake through the landscape in a serpentine, ever-changing way. Delta Garden + The City Unseen re-appropriates survey monuments to explore the dissonance between manmade methods of mapping the land, the land’s natural divisions, and the power of our perceptions to transform any given place.
Text on the brass monuments was gathered through The Invisible City Survey, a public survey named after Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino (1972). The artists asked Calgarians two questions: Where are you going? Where do you want to be? Words and phrases from the surveys were engraved into the brass markers, mapping the ‘social coordinates’ of the city. Intended to trace desire lines through (and beyond) our city, Delta Garden seeks to illuminate the unseen cities beneath our everyday experience.
CARBON COPY, Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett, 2018. Automobile, fibreglass, structural steel. 15.5 ft x 5.6 ft x 4.4 ft. Fabricated by F&D Scene Changes. Coordinated by Zebra Public Art Management. Commissioned by First Capital Realty and Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada. Edmonton Brewery District, Edmonton, Canada.
CARBON COPY was developed to explore intersections between cars, commerce, mass production, consumer culture, surrealism, glitch aesthetics, and everyday spaces. Literally built from the body of a 1988 Plymouth Caravelle (with Chevrolet hubcaps), CARBON COPY is a playful monument to North American’s obsession with car culture.
An intervention in plain sight, the artwork is installed on the corner of a parking lot in the Edmonton Brewery District. At night, the artwork’s signal lights and tail light glow, and a scanner bar strobes the surrounding parking lot every 20 seconds.
Extremophiles Set Design, Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett, 2018. Wood, aluminum, mirror-film, light bulbs, LEDs, ladder, electronics, fog machine, theremin. Variable scale, 1-hour duration. Produced by Downstage Theatre for the High Performance Rodeo, Calgary, Canada.
Extremophiles, written and performed by playwright Georgina Beaty, is a dark comedy exploring a near-future, rich with surrealist metaphors. Based around three characters (each played by Beaty), the narrative follows an anthropologist researching a micro-society in a desert located in “the far north” (a purposefully ambiguous, post-Global Warming locale). The society is comprised of an exiled mother and baby, hiding a strange (and potentially contagious) morphology in a tank of salt water. Over the course of the narrative, characters are differentiated by the colour temperature of the lights, reflection is used to conjure invisible environments, a theremin becomes the voice of a whale, and the passage of time is illustrated by rings of the sun burning out, one at a time, until a “supernova” at the bitter end.
Beyond the Veil, Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett, 2017. Tulle, adhesive, unoccupied buildings. Variable scale. Japan Alps Art Festival, Omachi, Japan.
Beyond the Veil is a temporary, site-specific, public art installation using broad swathes of translucent tulle to veil a series of houses in Omachi, Japan. The veils traces the contours of each house, using the mass and scale of the buildings as a formalist shape; a found sculpture. A literal manifestation of ‘Ghost Homes,’ the installation responds to vanishing populations and abandoned buildings in the rural, alpine city. Drawing in equal measure from iconography, rites of passage, dazzle camouflage, and bedsheet ghosts, Beyond the Veil reduces the structures into their simplest form, imprint, and volume – a shade of former function, a spectre of domesticity – in an attempt to release their ghosts.
Equal / Opposite (elsewhere), Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett, 2017. Wood, paint, weights, reflective tape, analog projection machine. Variable size. Joondalup Festival, Joondalup, Australia.
Equal/Opposite (elsewhere) is a light installation using 12 white ladders and an analog projection machine to explore non-chronological time and non-linear space. Embedded into the reflective surface of a manmade pond in Joondalup, Australia’s Central Park, the installation plays off the darkness in a forgotten pocket of the park, using the contrast between black + white, dark + light, linear + rippling to animate “infinity” ladders in the surface of the water. As they are illuminated, the ladders expand into the depths beneath them, implying movement up and down simultaneously, but going nowhere. The sweeping light of the projection machine, while rotating consistently like a clock, illuminates ladders out of sequence – not right to left, but seemingly at random, outside of time. While ladders are built at human scale, they are out of reach from viewers on the bank. Removed from their intended utility, the installation uses ladders as a symbol for the desire to move, to climb, to reach, or (perhaps) to escape. But in a situation where up is down, all hypothetical movement is equal + opposite, cancelling itself out. Instead, viewers are invited to meditate on light and movement, one step removed from real space (elsewhere).
Monument to Fallen Stars, Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett, 2017. Decommissioned City of Calgary streetlights, electrical components, arduino, wooden platform, telescopes. 80 ft diameter. GLOW Downtown Festival of Winter Lights, Calgary, Canada.
Monument to Fallen Stars is a tribute to fading celestial bodies and outmoded civic lighting. The installation transforms 78 retired City of Calgary streetlights into a dynamic tapestry of grounded constellations. Viewers enter the field of sodium streetlights strewn across an empty parking lot, exploring the space as lights buzz slowly on and off around them. At first, the formation of lights appears haphazard – like a gravesite for fallen infrastructure. In the centre of the site, a small wooden platform holds three telescopes. Trained at a high-up mirror on the wall of a nearby building, when viewers look up through the telescope, they see their surroundings reflected back on a macro scale. This “bird’s eye” awareness reveals the formations of streetlights around them, not as random, but as the calculated placement of familiar constellations – Ursa Major, Ursa Minor, Orion, Andromeda, and so forth – many of which are no longer fully visible in the night sky above downtown Calgary because of sky glow. Drawing connections between above + below, visible + invisible, wilderness + metropolis, curiosity + conquest, Monument to Fallen Stars offers an intuitive moment of pause, asking viewers to stand back and consider our human relationship with the universe.
Thank you to the kind people at the City of Calgary’s Roads Department for donating streetlights to this installation.
In the Belly of a Bear, Lane Shordee, Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett, 2016, scorched wood, real and faux fur. 15 ft diameter. The Beach, Winter Stations (Toronto, Canada).
In the Belly of a Bear is a 15-ft diameter wooden sculpture designed by Lane Shordee, Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett. Set into the sand along the beach of Lake Ontario for the duration of Winter Stations (Feb 15 – March 18, 2015), the design was one winner of an international Design Competition challenging architects, designers, and artists from around the world to re-imagine the Lifeguard towers on the beach of Toronto.
Imposing a dark, charred aesthetic into the bright, frozen landscape, viewers are invited to climb up a wooden ladder into the belly of the structure, emerging into a domed sitting space lined in thick warm fur. With a round window pointing towards the sky above the cold lake, In the Belly of a Bear speaks to the theme of the design competition (freeze & thaw) as seen through a series of juxtapositions – scorched & frozen, interior & exterior, isolation & insulation – intending ultimately to build a social interspace between the two. Within this cozy, warm space, viewers thaw slowly, and perhaps stay a while to gaze out the window into the cold winter sky.
Night Blind, Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett, 2015, wood, LEDs, electronics, speakers. Independent intervention along the banks of the Yukon River in Dawson City, Canada.
Developed as part of a Residency Program at Klondike Institute of Arts and Culture in Dawson City, a remote town in Northern Canada substantially affected by long nights in wintertime (20+ hours), Night Blind is based on a series of interviews with residents about their emotional, physical, and psychological responses to prolonged darkness. Utilizing the bones of a quintessential a-frame house to illustrate a simplified version of the “sky glow” phenomenon, Night Blind asks viewers to stand inside the house and look up at the sky. From outside the house, stars are clearly visible. When inside the a-frame, the sky appears much darker, blanker, and deeper – without a star in sight. Speaking to the manufactured divide between humans and our nighttime environments, the works asks: do our shelters serve as shells, segregating us from the surrounding world? Are we polarizing our understandings of the places in which we live, blinding ourselves to the natural spaces around us? Speaking to isolation and insulation, exterior and interior, environmental and manufactured, Night Blind does not condemn the light nor the darkness, but highlights the affects of one extreme on the other.
As Above, So Below by Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett, 2015, acrylic, two-way mirror film, LEDs, sensors, electronics. Multistory installation commissioned for the Barron Building by Beakerhead (Calgary, Canada).
As Above, So Below is a multistory light installation inside Calgary’s first skyscraper – the historic Barron Building. Physical beams of light pass between floors, connecting two parallel realities: on the lower floor, a clean, empty space where illuminated columns hang like sentinels. On the upper floor, a ruined landscape of renovation debris. Arranged as if cutting directly from one floor to the next, the beams act as metaphorical time machines, transporting light through decades of change inside the Barron Building. As audiences move through these spaces, the beams illuminate (or don’t illuminate) in response to their presence, highlighting the transition from sordid past into unknown future.
The Deep Dark, Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett, 2015, wood, LEDs, electronics, speakers. Independently created while on Residency at The Banff Centre (Banff, Canada). A subsequent edition was commissioned by Ice Follies (North Bay, Ontario, Canada).
The Deep Dark is a light installation designed to illuminate the interspaces between our sacred (and natural) environments and cultural constructs of darkness. Originally created while Artists-in-Residence studying darkness + light at The Banff Centre, the artwork draws from interviews, asking: why do we fear the dark? Is darkness a presence or an absence? What separates real fear of the night from imaginary fear of things we cannot see? Using domestic doorways as an entry point, viewers are invited to move through this “ghost architecture,” and as they do, they are blinded by intense white light, aimed inward from each frame. The human eye is overexposed, and the darkness beyond is magnified, much darker than before. From an outside perspective, as viewers pass through each doorway, they are seen as a bright figure that disappears suddently into the darkness. The Deep Dark imposes artificial light into the wild darkness – light by which the darkness grows darker and disillusions the night.
sea/see/saw, Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett, 2015, steel, cable, 14,000 used eyeglass lenses. 30’ diameter. Commissioned by Pera Museum (Istanbul, Turkey)
Designed for the historic façade of Pera Museum in Istanbul, sea/see/saw mirrors the dynamic and shimmering surface of the Golden Horn (Bosphorus) below. Introducing chaotic movement to the otherwise static structure, sea/see/saw creates pixilated ripples across the face of the building, as drawn by the wind. Built from incremental, readily available elements (glasses) that merge to create a simple, geometric form (a circle), the sculpture invites the viewer to engage in a momentary shift of perspective. If eyes are “windows to the soul,” how do lenses revise our vision of the world around us? What presences are evoked by thousands of human objects, especially materials so tied to essential mechanisms of sight? Do our former accessories carry faint ghosts of those who used them? As the materiality of the installation becomes apparent, the watchers become the watched, and this spectacle of spectacles takes on another subtext – as an icon for collective vision, compound perspectives, and the power of collaborative sight.
SOLAR FLARE, Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett, 2013-14, aluminum, electronics, motion sensors, acrylic, metal halide light bulb. 12‘ diameter. Commissioned by Downtown Calgary.
SOLAR FLARE is an interactive sun sculpture designed to artificially prolong “golden hour” into the longest and coldest nights of the year. Conceived specifically for Stephen Avenue pedestrian walkway in Calgary, the piece is animated via motion sensors by viewers as they pass beneath. A temporary interjection into the early darkness of the Canadian winter, SOLAR FLARE explores the social elements of light – particularly warm light – and its power to draw together diverse communities to bask in its glow. SOLAR FLARE pays homage to an established 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 utopian fantasy, 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.
NEW MOON, Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett, 2014, steel, electronics, 5,000 light bulbs. 8’ diameter, support 16’ x 25’ (height). Commissioned by Lexington Art League (Lexington, Kentucky, USA).
NEW MOON is an interactive light + shadow sculpture inviting viewers to manipulate the phases of the moon. Exploring the whimsical and alluring nature of our nearest celestial body, the sculpture draws on the universal familiarity of moonlight to all people. A mysterious, seductive, and powerful entity, the moon 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. With NEW MOON, the artists build a playful 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. By manually shifting the faces of the moon, viewers become temporary time travelers, altering time and space to meet, if only briefly, together in the moonlight.
BELLWETHER, Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett, 2014, 700 recycled glass bottles, LEDs, shock sensors, pull chain. Dimensions variable. Commissioned by Lexington Art League (Lexington, Kentucky, USA).
Built from 700 hand-cut glass bottles, LEDs, vibration sensors, and electronics, BELLWETHER marries new and analog technologies, transforming simple motion into sound and light. Viewers are invited to explore BELLWETHER, stepping into the darkness beneath overhanging bells, ringing them as they move and activating the bells, causing them to flicker like fireflies. As the viewer walks through the field of bells, they leave a luminous trail of tinkling light behind them. Interactive by its very nature, a bell cannot ring without a catalyst, whether that force is a living being, the wind, or some other external activator. In this sense, a ringing bell is evidence of a nearby presence, tracing ghosts of movement through vibration and sound. A “bellwether” is an omen, a predictor of the future. While whimsical and alluring, BELLWETHER’s use of familiar materials gently indicates the complex relationship between humans and consumable goods – the ghosts of our presence in this world – and asks audiences to re-imagine common place discarded items and their potential to create experiences in the place of waste.
WRECK CITY sign, Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett, 2013, re-appropriated construction debris. Signage for WRECK CITY (www.wreckcity.ca).
Tube Slide, Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett, 2013, re-appropriated Burger King slide, pre-demolition house. Exhibited at WRECK CITY (www.wreckcity.ca).
WRECK CITY: An Epilogue for 809 was a community-based art experiment in Calgary transforming 9 houses, 3 garages, and a greenhouse scheduled for demolition into temporary art, installation, and performance spaces. The biggest project of its type in the history of Alberta (if not all of Canada), WRECK CITY invited over 150 artists to participate by building new, temporary work, ultimately destined to be destroyed alongside the buildings. Caitlind Brown was a co-founder and co-curator behind WRECK CITY.
The WRECK CITY sign was a public marker for the project, constructed from re-appropriated debris sourced from all 9 properties. Tube Slide was installed between floors of one of the houses and served as a literal access point for viewers of all ages. Constructed from a re-appropriated Burger King playground slide, the structure emerged through the external wall of the house, becoming a communicative icon implicating that everything inside the home was not as it seemed.
Slide, Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett, 2011, re-appropriated playground slide, pre-demolition house. Exhibited at The House Project (www.housedemolitionproject.wordpress.com)
Simultaneous with larger-budget, more public projects, Brown & Garrett are heavily involved with community-based, self-organized exhibitions in Calgary. Slide was installed in a domestic, pre-demolition house as part of a DIY group exhibition of 8 local artists (The House Project). Bisecting floors in a playful manner, the slide was set into the living room floor, cut through the basement bathroom, and popped the rider out in a mattress-lined closet.
For Love of the Land, Caitlind r.c. Brown (Director, writer, editor) and Wayne Garrett (score, technical support), 2012, 16 mm celluloid, 10:09. Independent project.
An experimental film drawing from mythologies of the western genre, For Love of the Land is a segmented story about a Heroine, a Cowboy, and a Villain, caught in love and conflict on the sprawling landscapes of southern Alberta. Devised as a symbolic exploration of love, the conquest for land, and western film motifs, For Love of the Land was shot on 16mm film with non-actors in summer 2011.
For information about CLOUD, see here.