Thursday, April 22, 2010

light as element in construction

"In the Bay Area, the light, despite and even in the fog, is bright, strong and bounded; it separates and maintains objects, as if it were the source of their discreteness and their finitude, and makes the contrast between an object and its shadow definite and resolute. Meanwhile in Leningrad light and object merge; everything lifts in the light, drifts, is transformed, returns. The light comes from the side and is visible but diffuse, a mist in myriad tints. So Arkadii said that the blue of the sky is a shade of yellow. And while there is a shade called black, which glitters, another blue is a shade of black too, the black that doesn't glitter..."

Lyn Hejinian in Leningrad - American Writers in the Soviet Union by Michael Davidson, Lyn Hejinian, Ron Silliman and Barrett Watten, 1991

for a better view of the pyramid and Columbus Street, you can view this link:

Bay Area light...yes, this is really the case for San Francisco at least. Note how the Transamerica Pyramid has an entire side in complete shadow, I want to say that's how it would look at about two or three o'clock in the afternoon..There are many other smaller-scale examples to be found. Also, the dark green building at the end of Columbus Street, right side, maintains Francis Coppola's restaurant at the bottom floor, and I used to go to poetry readings there approx. 10 years ago. This photo is taken near the intersection at Broadway.

And now, Leningrad: (St. Petersburg today)

That last one is very interesting. Although I haven't been to St. Petersburg, it appears as though at certain times of the day/year, the yellowish tint of the sky moves off, and you are left with the impression of being about a mile up in the stratosphere. I have been to an Alaskan latitude of 57 degrees, but the lightwork was not quite the same, although that could be because there is no outstanding architecture in Alaska to serve as a contrast. At the risk of sounding like a complete hippie, it may be interesting to consider how the available light for an urban region conveys its presence within the composition of creative work that appears among artists, when buildings are a substitute for trees in general.

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