Magdalena - CODAworx


Submitted by Alex Leyva


Location: Sonora, Mexico

Completion date: 2020

Project Team


Edgar Campos


Alex Leyva


Magdalena is an ephemeral “site-specific” sculpture installed in the Altar Desert, Sonora, México. This piece seeks to explore the field of view in a vast and infinite landscape, such as the desert; as well as creating self-awareness in space by forcing you to feel your presence within the vastness of the dunes, generating a holistic experience by allowing yourself to be observed by yourself. Materials used : steel, acrylic, dichroic film, wood, mirror film and led light rope. Dimensions : 4m x 3m x 2m


The artwork was not commissioned, it self funded. The design objective of the piece was to explore different perspectives within the piece, it was designed inspired in the field of view. During the course of the day Magdalena is transformed, she neglects her staticity by using the passage of time to show her changing nature. The piece is a "shape shifter", that is, the perception of the shape, the qualities of reflection and transparency, depend on the rotation of the sun and the time of day. The light constantly changes in temperature and intensity, just like the piece; the sun's rays pass through the colourful central acrylic structure and constantly transform position creating shapes in the sand, as well as a gradual transformation of the colours thanks to the qualities of the dichroic material. Magdalena was designed taking into account the hue or quality of sunlight that illuminates the Altar Desert, which is more inclined towards yellow and orange tones, compared to other parts of the world.


Collaboration between artist and architect consisted in an exchange of ideas of what the piece was aiming to achieve, versus creating a modular sculpture that could be transported to the desert and could also survive in the conditions of the dunes such as the density of the sand and the intensity of the wind. The installation of the piece in an empty natural landscape was a challenge to perform.

Additional Information

The materials used for the realisation of the piece are transparent and reflective, since the intention was to be inserted in the landscape, not to interfere with it. Time is a limited resource and a trigger to become aware of oneself. At dusk, the piece becomes a sculpture of light by highlighting the architectural qualities of the general structure, based on the technical perspective drawing, with a type of linear lighting that accentuates the axes.