James Turrell - Roden Crater

drums please, Fab?

anyone been to roden crater?

saw photos in metropolis (?) several years ago and it was supposed to be open by now. the photos looked like the project was nearly complete. then said something like 'project on hold' and now that website is gone ..
some exterior pics
interview and short videos

i also heard a while back that arizona government agencies wanted the project to adhere to state building codes. turrell presented the project and got them to accept the entire thing as a work of art - no ADA or state accessibility requirements. good times

patiently waiting ~

Feb 27, 07 9:48 pm

i went to a lecture of his a few years back

what i remembered from the lecture was when he talked about lying on his back within the crater and looking up...the expanse of the sky appeared as if it was a monstrous dome. I vaguely remember turrell's explanation for this effect so i wont get into it but it reminded me of a text by panofsky where he explains that as light enters our eyes, the light is projected on a curved surface inside the back of our eyes (retina)...panofsky points out that brunnelleschi's perspective is "idealized" and not actual...what we actually see is a curved perspective (mild fish-eye effect) because of the curvature of the back of our eyes...reminds me also of ledoux's eye...and somehow being within the crater and staring at the sky heightens this perception of curved now i have to google and read about photoreceptors and peripheral vision...

but what turrell eventually concluded was that we can manipulate what we see (mediated by the crater in this case) and what we see is "reality"...

so i'd like to visit the crater one of these days to see all that...

Feb 28, 07 2:05 am  · 
drums please, Fab?

roden crater will be spectacular

and a skyspace:

kielder skyspace

Visitors to the Skyspace will find themselves in the middle of this clear, precise chamber. From the seating, the artist's precise manipulation of interior and exterior light causes the sky seen through the roof opening to seem an almost solid form.
that's the weirdest feeling - the sky is very heavy and it feels like you can reach up and touch it. the skyspace opening is knife-edged in section so the roof appears paper thin. i believe turrell treats the edge of the crater in a similar way; smooth, sharp.

Feb 28, 07 2:38 am  · 

an excerpt from your linked interview...similar idea to what he said in the lecture...

"We think of color as a thing that we're receiving. And if you go into one of the sky spaces, you can see that it's possible to change the color of the sky. Now, I obviously don't change the color of the sky, but I changed the context of vision. This is very similar to simultaneous contrast, where you see a yellow dot on a blue field, versus the yellow dot on a red field. Same yellow dot will be seen as two different colors. The same frequencies come into your eyes through a difference of context of vision, and are perceived differently. We actually create this color. Color is this response to what we are perceiving. So there isn't something out there that we perceive, we are actually creating this vision, and that we are responsible for it is something we're rather unaware of....because it's not just the fact that you are bringing the cosmos down into the space where you live, but that your perception helps create that as well. So that you really are this co-creator of what you're seeing.

Feb 28, 07 2:40 am  · 
drums please, Fab?

yeah that's the amazing thing about his work - he uses something we are all familier with (the sky) but puts it in a context where it becomes something completely different.

one of roden crater's viewing rooms:'06.htm

and i found the metropolis article from 2000:

with the planning/building department comment:

Turrell tells the Cooper Union audience that when construction finally began at Roden two years ago he wasn't even aware that he needed a building permit. "I told the local planning board: This is art.' They looked at the plans and said, It looks an awful lot like a building to us,'" Turrell says, eliciting more laughter from the crowd. "In fact, at 600 feet, the Crater is one of the tallest buildings in the state of Arizona." With the help of local supporters, Turrell marshaled enough evidence to show that Roden Crater will be similar in purpose to a Navajo kiva, which is exempt from building codes due to its ceremonial nature. Later that same year Turrell managed to convince Coconino County's building department to pass a bill designating a new category of building: land art. Sitting in a roomful of future architects, I wondered how many of them would ever wield the same kind of power over local planning boards.
Feb 28, 07 12:30 pm  · 

the models and drawings were done by steven holl's (strange) estranged wife, janet cross.

Feb 28, 07 1:18 pm  · 

would you want to be married to Steven Holl?

Feb 28, 07 2:10 pm  · 

negative, ghost rider - the pattern is full

Feb 28, 07 2:17 pm  · 

Solari...has had alot of the same issues over the years with his project in the desert.

Feb 28, 07 4:52 pm  · 

For very different reasons.

drums please, Fab?

As construction on Roden Crater is ongoing, it is presently closed to the public.


website looking good, though

Jul 18, 19 2:02 pm  · 
wurdan freo

Been waiting for it to open since about 2002... over it. Where have you gone Dennis oppenheim...  our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.... wu. wu. wu.

Jul 19, 19 3:57 pm  · 

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