February 2012

February 10, 2012

Reflection and shadow in winter

February 2012 – Thanks
Thanks to everyone who has been helping get the project out in the ether. Thanks to those of you who have got in contact with us, either through the blog or otherwise.

We’ve had two technical queries about accessing parts of the website. We’ve done what we can to remedy these problems, not always satisfactorily. But do let us know if you find any problems and we’ll do what we can and let you know our answer. You can get in touch with us by sending a comment below.

What’s the point, and can you trust your eyes?
What is the point of a Skyspace? One point is to help us see all sorts of things differently, not just in art installations but in the ‘real world’ any time. There are, or will be, pictures about this in our galleries. When you look at the blue shining square sometimes you see different coloured edges round it. When you visit one of Turrell’s inside installations with drifting changes of coloured light there are effects discernible with the eye but not to a camera. We were discussing this at a Christmas Party and afterwards Plainweave wrote….

In your own bathroom
The phenomenon called ‘after images’ I had explained to me in O level biology but I had always known that it happened. It appears that some people see them more easily than others, and it tends to be more common when you are tired. How it works is that the colour receptors at the back of the eye adjust to the incoming signal, and if this is very strong and clear then when you look at a blank white surface immediately afterwards you see the opposite colours , because it takes a moment to adjust. The experiment is very simple. You need a brightly-lit place (artificial light will do), two sheets of white paper and a bright coloured object. Put the two sheets of paper side by side with the thing on one. Stare at the thing for a minute and then look at the blank paper. The whole thing is explained in a book called Color, by Harald Kuppers, which is fascinating in many respects. You can see why a bathroom can spontaneously produce the necessary conditions – tiles, light, plastic beakers and tiredness.

In the bleak midwinter
Another unexpected effect came when we were in the Deer Shelter Skyspace at 3.45 at the end of December on a dark and wet day. The concrete floor was shining dark with wetness, the sky in the aperture was leaden, the rain blopped on your head. As you walked around the room your feet were followed by a short dark blue shadow, which appeared on different sides as you twisted and turned. But the camera recorded it as a blue shining square of a different, much lighter colour, floating freely on the dark floor. That’s the picture up at the top.

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