(above) Light Metrical Instrument. Designed by LW, made by LW together with architect Leo Modrcin, c. 1987.
It has long been my contention that light does not reveal the presence of objects, but the other way around: objects reveal the presence of light. This flipping of the phrase is more than a trick with words, though it may seem like that at first. What it does is shift the emphasis of meaning. If light reveals the object, than it is the object that is important. But if objects reveal the light, it is the light that is important. In other words, the simple turn of phrasing changes the relative values of objects and light.
For me, light is the main thing.
Light is a natural physical phenomenon the complexity of which reveals the structure of human consciousness. Objects, including buildings, in their absorption and reflection of light, stimulate a human brain’s neural networks, in effect activating the brain. The more complex and nuanced the stimulation, the more fully the brain comes to life. Shape, edge, texture, color, shadow, highlight, playing with and against one another, effectively enable the brain to make the most subtle distinctions, thereby imbuing human experience with a richness and complexity that defines it.
Whatever else is involved, the perception of light is central.
(below) Details from the Light Metrical Instruments series, 1987. If we can think of architecture as an instrument revealing the presence of light and therefore giving it a precise measure, then these instruments are proto-architectural. With their richness in variation of shapes, colors, textures, they inform the design of more complex programmatic structures.
About this entry
You’re currently reading “MEASURING LIGHT,” an entry on LEBBEUS WOODS
- April 30, 2012 / 2:49 pm
- Lebbeus Woods