Site-specific Solar Spectrum Environmental Art installation in a 400 year old Spanish church
Peter Erskine installed three, custom designed, laser-cut prisms in the south-facing windows of this ancient church. As the Sun streams through the windows, the prisms project huge, eight sided flames of ever-changing solar spectrum light onto the hand carved ceiling. During the day, as the Earth turns, the radiant rainbow beams slowly glide from ceiling to floor and back again. The entire church becomes a living light and space painting. (Please see the video below with time lapse photography.)
Church of Santa Lucia, Village of Santa Lucia de Ocon, La Rioja, Spain
THE ECSTASY OF SANTA LUCIA IN 7 HOURS AND 34 MINUTES, 2011
Materials: Sunlight, the rotation of the Earth on her axis, three laser-cut prisms, Church of Santa Lucia
Spanish Church Art made from Rainbow Light
I leverage cosmic forces to create this art: The burning Sun, the source of life on Earth. The orbit of the Earth around the Sun turning the seasons. The spin of the Earth on her axis, creating day and night – and time. And, I use human artifacts to create this art. The 16th century village church of Santa Lucia (Holy Radiance) de Ocon, is my canvas. I install 21st century prisms to illuminate her body.
I calculate her position flying in the Solar system, and the place of her body on Earth. How she turns to the Sun at noon, opening her interior to the penetration of Solar rays.
In her cosmic orientation, her altar faces east – towards dawn, our source of light and radiance. Her windows open to the south – the Zenith, the Dome of Heaven. Her choir faces exactly west – to the setting Sun – the beginning of darkness.
As the luminous power of the Sun begins to enter her body in the morning, tiny rainbows of joy and ecstasy ignite on her ceiling – her heaven. As the day waxes, they kindle fifteen more blades of color. The Sun’s energy swells until noon, when her Solar penetration and ecstasy begin to peak. After 4:00 PM the burning colors soften – subsiding and disappearing around 5:00 in the afternoon.
She rests. She sleeps? She dreams?
By 21 October, the Solar angles have declined. Earth has swung on in her orbit. The rainbow light installation will fade. And, next year in March, Santa Lucia will have flown around the Sun to where her prisms ignite again.
Holy Radiance returns.
Climate Change and Sustainability
The Ecstasy of Santa Lucia, is a solar light art installation in a sixteenth century architectural jewel constructed before the era of oil and electricity. Her builders toiled in a photosynthesis-solar-powered-economy of human and animal labor. Now the treasures of this village, the economy of Spain – and the entire Planet – are challenged by climate change from our fossil fuel economy of the last 200 years.
I see this solar powered art for Santa Lucia – the saint who restores vision – as a rainbow bridge from the solar world of her building to our dawning solar age..
This installation was part of the Arte en la Tierra Festival, 2011. Scroll down when you get to the link to see more photos of Erskine’s art in this ancient church.