Monday, October 20, 2008

St. Louis Light Project

I've been missing you! and blogging!...almost "back in business" as my favorite boss used to say. I have several posts on back order, and I'm not sure where to begin. Here's a little one:

When I was in St. Louis, A drove me to the St. Louis Light Project. A red-headed Social History Professor suggested I check it out, explaining his current writing and research over breakfast and toys in Edwardsville the day before. After 2 days of corn fields, a harvest fest, 4-year-old princess antics, an anxious lecture, and threatening racial tension, it was the perfect "relevatory" experience.

The church was a ghost, a grave for a historical social foundation. Only the main walls of the structure remained---the frame for so many. Within the old body, was an organized skeletal scaffold. Hardware, metal and stone, cold and vacant. Floating effortlessly above, in the form of the pitched roof, hung more than 200 lights. Warm liveness. A variety of shapes, colors, styles--they looked great together, a unified community of difference. Beautiful, magical, and conceptually minded--it reminded me of the majestic light that enters the stained-glass windows of a deeply Gothic cathedral, the sort of sensationalism and dramatic theater used to create an awakening of spiritual experience from an otherwise dark, wordly existence. Only this was outwardly glowing, and not consquentially pointed. It was like a memorial of the very human connection, the dynamic life that exists within a tired (and in this case, dead) institution. What's more, the lamps came from people in the surrounding community. (you know how I'm a sucker for inclusion!) With each lamp, personal current histories combined to reflect on the history of the church, dialogically celebrating the past and present. You can see many of the lamp donors and their lamps here:

And learn more about the artists and other light projects around the St. Louis area here:

You have some cute nostalgic lamps to offer, right k?
Good to be back!

No comments: