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Solar Illumination I: Evolution of Language

Artist: Lynn Goodpasture (2008)

This work includes four art glass windows located in the children's area and a suspended glass lamp near the library entrance.The artwork's visual imagery refers to ancient alphabets as the foundation of the written word, which in turn is fundamental to libraries and illumination of the mind. Each pane contains characters in different scripts that are the basis for written Latin, Russian, Vietnamese and some Indian languages. These are lineages of the languages that presently are predominant in the Pearl Avenue Branch Library collection.

The lamp is inscribed with ancient Sumerian cuneiform script which repeats the text "We are all one." The lamp is lit with color changing LEDs, programmed to cycle on 30-minute intervals through the color spectrum. In this way the lamp also functions as a timepiece. Another critical but unseen aspect to the artwork are photovoltaic cells that are embedded in the four glass panes. These collect solar energy that then provides power to light the lamp.

Through this work the artist is seeking to awaken people to the miracle of language and writing as the key to understanding the past, expressing the present and imagining the future. The artist also wants to raise awareness of the real possibilities of harnessing available energy to provide for basic needs.

District: 9

Report a Concern: (408) 793-04330 or publicart@sanjoseca.gov.

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