This is the third light installation to be put up in a vacant storefront on Main Street, the central commercial district of Vermont’s capitol city. Just as with the two previous ones, its aim is to bring light and color into what is otherwise a dark space, and to allow the architecture to be experienced in a new and engaging way. The artist’s statement placed in the window describes the installation as follows:
8 ITEMS OR LESS
This light installation is the latest in a series that has illuminated vacant store fronts in Montpelier for the past several years. The darkness of empty store fronts makes them easy to overlook, but through the use of colored fluorescent lights passersby are invited to enter into them, at least visually, and experience them in new ways.
The various combinations of light and colors on the walls, floor and ceiling of this installation are meant to draw the viewer’s attention to different aspects of the space, its architectural elements, its dimensions and layout, even the scuffs, marks and dirt that characterize places that have been vacant for a while. No effort is made to change the space. No walls are painted, the rug isn’t cleaned, even the discarded things left over from the last tenant aren’t removed. The only intervention is the addition of the colored lights, but that’s enough to allow the space to once again become an active participant in Montpelier’s downtown.
This is the first of the installations to include a sculptural element, the lights arrayed in and around an old shopping cart. I could come up with a pretentious artist’s statement about this sculpture being an indictment of how out of control our consumer culture has become, or about how small downtowns are being eviscerated by the Wal-Martization of the country, which are both true, but in all honesty I made it simply because I like how it looks. The title refers to my annoyance at people in front of me in the express checkout lane who have too many items. There are nine bulbs in the cart.
The lights are on timers so that the installation is turned on during the following hours, seven days a week:
Noon – 1:00 PM
5:00 PM – 10:00 PM (the cart goes off at 9:45 so that for the last 15 minutes the space is filled with just red and blue light, a combination I especially like).
Much of the fun and mystery of doing these light installations has to do with discovering the random and unforeseen reflections and color combinations that become apparent after the installation is complete. This installation was especially rich in these discoveries.
One day as I was taking photographs I noticed that the back of the “For Rent” sign taped to the window, which is made of laminated white paper, was reflecting the colored lights in all sorts of fascinating combinations. Moving to the side or up and down by even a couple of inches changed the reflections in dramatic ways. These photos are my attempt to capture these beautiful, almost infinite combinations of light and color, each one of which lasted only for as long as I didn’t move and then disappeared forever.