Glowing houseAnna Viktoria Norberg ART INFO

Age Quod Agis - A Sundial or The Possibility of Stopping Time [2004]
Optical glass fibers, sunlight, stones, wall, video projection, vinyl lettering; 8 x 15 m

Installation view
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Site specific installation and performance at the Wheeler Gallery in Providence, RI.

The project involved me creating a map of the sunlight as it entered the gallery from three large windows at the south wall, and moved across the floor. With the use of fiber optic technology I transported the light of the sun to a dark wall, 25 feet away, at the other end of the gallery space. In an attempt to visualize the constant movement of the spinning earth, I created a sundial of sorts.

However, mapping the sun, as it moved specifically in the space at that time of the year, had to be created in the space for the duration of the show. The exhibition was in essence a 3 week performance of me arranging the optical fibers to catch the rays of the sun. The sun was shining in the space until about 3 p.m. and as the gallery opened at noon I spent in total about 50 hours tending to the glass.

Each optic fiber consisted of a thin glass thread. The sunlight, entering at one end of the thread, was transported at the core of the glass and visualized as a pin-point of light at the other end. This is the high-tech technology used today to transport data, at the speed of light, on our "highways of information." However, rather than buying industrial made optic fiber I made these by hand, using the thousand year old technology of glass blowing.

Before the exhibition opened I separating the gallery space into two rooms with a 20 foot wall. The glass threads were installed on the floor, starting by the windows in the first room and continuing under the wall into the second room. As visitors entered the gallery they first encountered, probably surprisingly, the artist sitting on the floor by the windows, carefully moving the ends of the glass threads so that they are always positioned in the sunlight. The tiny glass threads that trailed across the gallery floor reflected the ambient daylight in the room and created the effect of a "river of light."

To enter the room behind the wall visitors had to step over stones, placed among the glass, to access a door opening on the far side of the wall. If anyone stepped on the glass it broke and lost its optic ability to transport light. Carved in the stepping stones was the Latin phrase; Age Quod Agis, quoted from Roman play-write Plautus. Once within the darkened room visitors was given the English translation of the Latin phrase, Do What You Do, written on the floor and illuminated by the pin-points of light at the end of the glass threads. Also illuminating the room was a video of a flowing river projected on the wall above. A bench was provided for visitors to sit in the dark and listen to the relaxing sound of a busy spring river.

Outside the gallery doors the following two sentences were pasted to the wall:

A second is the duration of 9 192 631 770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the cesium 133 atom.

A second is the time between two heartbeats.