Light Work

Contemporary Artists Consider the Sun
  • Rebecca Cummins
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 334)


Modern day life and timekeepers have profoundly affected the way we conceptualize time and our position in the universe. Over the past year, I have been investigating the apparent movement of the Sun both sculpturally and photographically. In this paper, I discuss my collaborations with Woody Sullivan and highlight several of the sundials, both gigantic and intimate, created by University of Washington students in the class Where is Noon? Regarding Giant Sundials that we co-taught in Spring 2003. I have continued to develop artistic approaches to solar events. Some of these sunworks have not been designed specifically to measure the exact time of day as a classic sundial does, but to stimulate a greater awareness of our subjective and paradoxical relationship to nature and technology. Other, almost domestic, poetic, humorous or intimate ways of interacting with science and technology are being actively explored. I will also provide a background to previous works I have done in relation to the Sun and optics, and briefly mention artists who are using astronomical events as a point of departure.

Key words

art Sun light sundials 


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9. References

  1. Heilbron, J.L., 1999. The Sun in the Church: Cathedrals as Solar Observatories. Cambridge, Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Kemp, Martin, 1990. The Science of Art: Optical Themes in Western Art from Brunelleschi to Seurat. New Haven, Yale University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rebecca Cummins
    • 1
  1. 1.School of ArtUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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