The Light Screen is a site specific installation located in a walnut grove at Fort Benjamin Harrison State Park in Indianapolis. The proposed project was a finalist in the “Great Ideas” competition sponsored by the Arts Council of Indianapolis, and builds on an architectural installation previously completed by the entrant in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2006 – Light Sail (selected images of which are also included here). More about this installation following the break.
Architects: Timothy Gray of Gray Architecture with Kurt West, Melli Hoppe Location: Walnut Grove, Ft. Benjamin Harrison State Park, Indianapolis, Indiana Design Team / Collaborators: Timothy Gray, Kurt West, Melli Hoppe (Light Screen); Timothy Gray, Lina Ali, Kirsten Bremmer, Andrew Cranford; Guy Fimmers; April Hiebert; Luc Johnston; Lauren Macaulay; Michelle Poon; Adam Read; Lauren Staples, FreeLAB 2006 (Light Sail) Model and renderings: Kurt West Photographs: Timothy Gray, Ken Cam, Guy Fimmers, Luc Johnston
The Walnut Grove is a magical place. The tall, thin walnut trees, which were planted on a ten foot by ten foot grid years ago, have a powerful spatial as well as a powerful spiritual presence.
The Light Screen, delicately inserted into the grove, consists of a field of ninety 2’ x 4’ parabolic fluorescent light diffusers supported by a light steel framework. Each individual screen within the field is allowed to pivot independently and selected screens are also able to be manually manipulated. Light can both filter through and be projected onto the screens, creating a brilliant dance of light across the field of diffusers.
Inserted on a diagonal in opposition to the formal grid of the walnut grove, the Light Screen both reveals and mediates between the rigid geometry of the ground plane and the natural irregularity of the canopy above. The screen records the movement of the breeze and also provides a datum to reveal the quality of light as it cascades down through the canopy. The insertion of the screen as a datum amplifies ones awareness of and appreciation for the natural condition of the grove.
Working in conjunction with the Susurrus dance group, a performance choreographed on site is proposed to mark both the installation and the removal of the work. Appendages to facilitate the movements of the performers around and through the screen as well as appendages to accommodate projections onto the screen will be added to the work once in place and a will be a direct outgrowth of the performance. These appendages will remain in place after the performance is complete, physically recording the memory of the event and simultaneously enriching and complicating the work.
Like any thoughtful work of architecture, the Light Screen aspires to both reveal and respond to its specific circumstance of place, and at the same time questions the boundaries between disciplines.