This is a piece of Public Art inspired by Hindu-Buddhist architecture, but repurposed for 21st c. concerns using PVC and solar panels.
Help me buy some solar paneling to build an architectural installation in Franconia Sculpture Park!
This summer I will be building an installation as part of an artistic residence at Franconia Sculpture Park in Minnesota. The piece will be interactive in nature, and it is based on early Hindu and Buddhist shrines, or sikharas.
This interactive sculpture is, in a way, a modern representation of a solar temple. It will store energy during the day, and at night it will exude it. I am using PVC pipes for the structural members, and photovoltaic solar paneling for the roof.
In its early form, the sikhara was a type of building done to encapsulate a place and elevate its meaning. It was done on a personal scale but for public use, and it was made out of the most mundane and utilitarian of materials, like bamboo and thatch. Part of my fascination with this building type is that due to the impermanence of its materials, all we have are descriptions of it. And although we have no extant examples of it, it has influenced all of the sacred architecture that followed it. Rather than just speculating about its form, I want to put it to use and refurbish it for contemporary use, so I proposed to build a sikhara at Franconia Sculpture Park out of materials that speak to our present age in terms parallel to the way that the earlier materials spoke. The proposal was accepted, and now I need to secure funding for its construction.
Your funding will help with acquiring the solar paneling and lighting for this piece.
Reconstructions of old shrines built before wood and stone temples became commonplace.
I am interested in contemporary, utilitarian materials and I have chosen to work on PVC because it is accessible, modular, strong, ubiquitous, and reusable. I see it as the modern equivalent of bamboo. The shingling will be made with overlapping photovoltaic laminate sheets capable of absorbing light and transforming it into energy. I will demarcate approximately thirty-six square feet of earth (6’ x 6’), and frame them in plan and in elevation with this “PVC sikhara.” The average human has an arm span of just under six feet, so the space is large enough to accommodate a person or two, but small enough to be intimate. This patch of earth will be stripped bare and fleshed out, revealing a contrasting soil to the ground surrounding it. This soil itself would be the inner sanctum. Around its perimeter, the PVC columns will rise into a vault, and this vault will be shingled except for the very top, to allow for a connection between the inner sanctum of the building and the elements. The cables carrying the energy absorbed by the panels will come down to floor level trough the inside of the piping, and the energy will be stored inside underground batteries. This energy can then be shared with the viewer, or it can be used to illuminate the sculpture and its perimeter. This way of taking the energy of the sun and sharing it with the “devotee” also represents a parallel way the sikhara’s more esoteric functions—indeed many temples were dedicated to Surya the Vedic sun god. The whole structure will be held together by elbows and other fixtures related to the material. The building itself could be disassembled and the PVC and solar sheeting could be reused, or the building may very well be rebuilt somewhere else, perhaps in a different form and context.
My model is based on the Draupadi Ratha, a temple dedicated to Draupadi in South India. This particular temple is probably the closest representation of a thatched roof, single cell structure that we have. As it was customary, even though rendered in stone, all of the building's forms clearly belong to an earlier wodden model.
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1 limited edition 4" x 6" print on archival paper evocative of the larger work, signed and sent to you as "mail art."
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1 limited edition 4" x 6" print on archival paper evocative of the larger work. 1 limited edition 14" x 20" print on archival paper evocative of the larger work. Both signed.
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