Thursday, July 1, 2010

What's So Great About Daylight (1.0)

At least some part of our fascination with the sun and its light is that it puts us in the unaccustomed position of experiencing action at a distance, the sense that there is some kind of unseen, interactive, relationship between objects remote from each other. We don’t usually think of it this way, but it is astonishing to think that the sun, the unreachable locus of seemingly inexhaustible and fierce energy, would be the cause of shimmering brightness on the wall next to me or that I could then cause the sun’s illumination to bounce across a space onto another surface, unconnected to the first. But this is what happens and what we enable, what we count on to develop practical strategies in lighting and shading the places we design. Casting shadows has some of this quality as well, as bodies of no particular substance are broadcast by one object onto another. Shadows cross legal and physical boundaries with silhouettes that more or less follow the contours of the source or are transformed into odd shapes that stretch, compress, or mock their origin. The distance between the source of light or the origin of a shadow and the surface on which they come to rest implies that there is no connection across space, but the quality of light, the accuracy of a shadow or its telltale adjacency to its source suggest a connection and even complicity.