Light, Words, Life

Submitted by Arlon Bayliss

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Project

Client: Indianapolis and Marion County Central Public Library

Location: Indianapolis, United States

Completion date: 2007

Artwork budget: $100,000

Project Team

Artist

Arlon Bayliss

Architect

CSO Shenkel, Shultz

Industry Resource

Hunt Construction

Client

Indianapolis Central Public Library

Overview

“Light, Words, Life” is a light and glass installation that welcomes visitors to an elevator lobby at the Indianapolis and Marian County Central Public Library. Situated in the first floor basement garage, layers of colored light undulate across the length of a 40 foot west wall, leading visitors towards two elevators and a 10 foot square adjoining wall. There, a poem described in colored light, encourages readers to think of the importance of words and writing and how they illuminate our lives. The artist invited Indiana Poet Laureate, Joyce Brinkman, to write the poem especially for the project.

Goals

The architects wanted an artwork that would guide visitors from a basement-parking garage to an elevator lobby that provides access to a new library atrium above. The successful project would give the public a visually stimulating experience as they wait to be taken to the areas above. The artist’s solution starts with a long west wall. An arrangement of colored light begins in the lot and pierces a dividing glass wall. It accentuates the angled opening of the space with its cool/warm color shifts and directional composition. The shorter south wall draws people further into the space towards the elevators. There, they discover a short illuminated poem described in a playful composition of light. The poem and carefully considered environment greet visitors of all ages and social backgrounds with a meditative artwork that celebrates light, words and life.

Process

The artist, through experiments with controlled reflections and refractions, designed a system that allowed accurate placement of shapes and colors with built-in flexibility for final adjustments on-site. Equipment used includes: 5 Lucifer Lighting illuminators, custom made Schott Spectraflex fiber optic harnesses, and dichroic float glass from Austin Thin Films. Angled protective glass enclosures protect the work from dust and curious viewers.