The floor plan of the Peninsula Art School (Fish Creek, WI) is a series of concentric decagons that establish a strong focus on the center of the room, enhanced by a catwalk that contributes to a sense of being on view. For Observatory, the lower level was articulated with curtains bearing personal ads. Each wall also featured a circular text fragment relating astronomy/astrology and desire, from sources as diverse as Native American cosmology, the astronomer John Herschel, and a romance novel. Tiny figures on 1" platforms were dispersed within these circles. The gallery windows articulated the path of the sun over the course of the day, the room itself thus echoing a planetarium, completed by rendering the zodiac on the upper walls. Further, the catwalk windows housed horoscopes with astronomical/viewing references, and were visible only through the telescope. The scope was mounted on a central platform that viewers ascended. The inlaid diagram and steel letters of the platform derived from an old plan for anticipating the location of the sun. "Riding" the stool along the steel circle led to meaning as a product of actual experience and not merely disembodied looking. In this way, Observatory also considered the nature of the art experience itself.
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Surveying Desire XIII: Observatory

40' x 54' 8" x 54' 8"
mixed media
2004

 
 
 
a)

view from above

  b) view toward front door
  c)
platform with viewer
   
 
 
 
a)
upper level with zodiac ring
  b) window and zodiac detail
  c)
window with horoscope detail
   
 
 
a)
view of platform from above
  b) north side of platform
  c)
platform detail "Latitude"
   
 
 
 
a)
curtains and wall with romance text
  b)

detail of curtains with history text

  c)
curtain detail with personal ads
   
 
 
a)
astrology text with figures
  b) text detail with male figure
  c) text detail with woman sweeping
   
 
 
© 2006 Carol Emmons