Lit City

Because northern cities are Vitamin D deficient, artful weaving of light is not only critical, it’s life giving.   For a pedestrian bridge in Toronto’s south financial district, New York light artist James Carpenter cast  silver-golden sequins of light across a long, north wall. Something to wear as you’re walking by.

Somebody please assign Carpenter to work some cinematic magic on one of the 132 towers now being developed for Toronto.  Because they will surely need his help. For more on what sculpting with light means, visit the SOM/James Carpenter 7 World Trade Centre, which has already elevated the future of Ground Zero.

Tones of sepia from Carpenter’s light wall reflected onto commuter traffic in Toronto, where red brake lights finally serve an aesthetic purpose. Both calming and buzzy, (and I’m sure David’s Tea has a label for that one.)

My hero of ethereal light:  James Turrell, maker of the monumental Roden Crater installation and, here, next to his light wall at Bay-Adelaide Centre in downtown Toronto.   For those curious about the subtle disappearance of colour this one is worth a pilgrimage. And it’s easier to find than an ancient volcanic crater in the desert near the Grand Canyon.  Though I’m going to get there.  Photo: Barbara Astman

Post-apocalyptic steelworks re-imagined by light artist Hans Peter Kuhn, the guy who did large-scale urban light first and best.  The Volklinger Hutte is a World Cultural Heritage site. Kuhn’s symphony of colour light shows us why.

 Even as a flicker, light illuminates.  Considered as a measure of grace or as an up north street light: Snowball igloo, lit by a candle, made by freezing hands.

In the lugubrious shadows of a cavernous church: Prayer candles, Basilica of Santa Croce, Florence. Still burning hot. Still mesmerizing. Or, as James Turrell says:  “Like the wordless thought that comes from looking in a fire.”


    I love James Carpenter’s contributions and especially worship his friendship.

    Have not seen much other than watching the many sunsets where I live on the Henry Hudson River where I also love the glint in the sky creating more light in my eye..”..the #7 is my fave..!”

  2. Wonderful piece Lisa. We will see what can be done about granting you your wish. Karen

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