"Hillside as Darkness" - this installation was part of the second High Desert Test Sites.

The custom solar-powered LED lighting units were mounted along a descending ridgeline on Bureau of Land Management land north of the park. In an environment where night can be very disorienting without a clear sense of the terrain, the installation sought to reveal the presence of the muscular rocky hills that otherwise flattened into dark outlines after the sunset.
Intensely-bright LEDs outine a ridge in the hills outside of Joshua Tree

In looking at potential sites for an installation in Joshua Tree, Allen Compton was taken by the darkness he experienced his first night there. With the landscape only barely visible, he found it difficult to understand his physical relationship to the shapes that he could see. This space created by the darkness vacillated between the forms that he recalled seeing during the daytime, a completely flat silhouette, and a void. It was this ambiguous experience between knowing and projecting that Allen wished to explore with the light installation “Hillside as Darkness”.

The line of tiny blue lights installed on the hillside suggests some of the forms that exist in the darkness. This simple gestural line of light makes a small portion of one of the ridgelines across the hills, highlighting the inability to understand the physical presence of these masses. Without any visible shape to define or fix these forms, it becomes a space of emptiness and possibility.

High Desert Test Sites

SALT Landscape Architects
448 S Hill Street, Suite 708
Los Angeles, CA 90013
+1 (213) 234-0057 

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