roden crater skyscape

Roden Crater is near the Grand Canyon, in Flagstaff, Arizona. It is an old volcano crater,400,000 year old and 3km wide, that since 1979 has been part of a project by ‘light artist’ James Turrell. He has been transforming it into into a massive naked-eye observatory, designed specifically for the viewing of celestial phenomena. He stated that he plans to to open the crater for public viewing in 2012. 

James Turrell a pilot kept seeing the Roden Crater and was draw to it. He ‘studied optics and perceptual psychology’ and is known as a sculptor of light, over the years having used natural and artificial light to help create his work, many in the form of optical illusions, and challenge people’s perceptions of the world around them. many of his pieces involve something called a skyspace, essentially a room which has had precisely calculated sections of the ceilling and/or walls removed in order for light to enter the room at a specific angle.

He talks about ‘collecting light’ at the crater;

 Also, I wanted to use the very fine qualities of light. First of all, moonlight. Also, there’s a space where you can see your shadow from the light of Venus alone – things like this. And also wanted to gather starlight that was from outside, light that’s not only from outside the planetary system which would be from the sun or reflected off of the moon or a planet, but also to emanate light from the galactic planes where you’ve got this older light that’s away from the light even of our galaxy. So that is light that would be at least three and a half billion years old. So you’re gathering light that’s older than our solar system. And it’s possible to gather that light, it takes a good bit of stars to do that, and a good look into older skies, away from the Milky Way. You can gather that light and physically have that in place so that it’s physically present to feel this old light.

and combine that with his interest in synesthesia;

Now there’s a lot to do with sensory synesthesia as well, in that the feeling of light in so many ways – you probably have seen or handled a lemon and suddenly felt the taste in your mouth. I mean it suddenly floods your mouth. The perception through vision actually creates the sensation in taste. The same thing can happen in sound and sound can change the perception of color. 

those 15 seats at the site are going to be be VIP only I guess for the 2012 alignment.

see here for some more recent photos of the project.


2 Responses to “roden crater skyscape”

  1. 1 bobbywashere
    October 16, 2008 at 18:35

    I saw this on channel 4(UK) about 4 weeks ago. Is very surreal not just in the location but the whole structure of this land sculpture.

    The stairs in the top shot on your post are very large making the person walking up them fell tiny and almost insignificant. I believe the egg like opening into the sky also featured in the top shot morphs from a perfect circle. Very intelligent piece of art and refreshing…Sure even better in the flesh.


  2. 2 Saskatoon Berry
    October 16, 2008 at 18:59

    Wow this even beats the Homestar home galaxy projection, well by a longshot!

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