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Sited on each side of Calgary’s Crowchild Trail, this permanent installation is composed of 422 solar amber emergency lights mounted on 12-meter-high poles. From most views, the poles and lights appear as random. However, from a few specific points, these elements gather themselves into a round and radiant constellation, glowing at night like two giant moons setting on the horizon.
Inspired by the research of physicist and philosopher, Roger Penrose, the piece adopts his brilliant tile geometry to establish the positioning of the lights. These patterns create repeating and random patterns of shapes, much like the stars above us and our own movements below.
Looking up at the vast celestial arc of Calgary’s night sky, whose scattered stars seem immeasurable, inspired the installation. But those distant stars, we know, are subject to the same physical principles that govern our earth, and our bodies, just as surely as they govern the astounding geometries of the Milky Way.
roger that is an homage to Roger Penrose but also means ‘transmission received’ or ‘I understand.’ It is meant to foster moments when feelings of belonging or understanding manifest. It is a meditation on the idea that our movement, position and distance influences the perception of all things, and that we can see all conditions in the universe as simultaneously dynamic and ordered.
The artwork is a playful re-arrangement of readymade roadside elements, familiar and almost banal, re-purposed in a surprising manner. The palette of solar lights and galvanized poles refer to the everyday bits and pieces that make the 21st century city. It also links us back to the larger orders of our solar system, where the energy gathered by the sun is held within each of the lights, translating its critical life force back into our small piece of earth.
Photography courtesy of Kristopher Grunert.