Transcontinental, commissioned as part of the the Lincoln Financial Sculpture Walk in Hartford, CT, is a public sculpture by artist Carole Eisner. Inspired by Lincoln's vision of a coast to coast national rail system, Eisner's carefully arched and twisted steel structure certainly invokes a sense of halted industrial progress while simultaneously giving the viewer a feeling of hopefulness.
Aside from the economic and military advantages of a coast to coast national rail system, Lincoln also believed greatly in the unifying force that a national rail system could bring. While the Pacific Railway Acts of 1862 and 1863 laid the ground work for a transcontinental rail system, the true coast to coast rail network Lincoln envisioned never fully came to fruition.
Initially, our goal was to light a specific work in the Hogpen Hill Farms Sculpture Park in Woodbury, CT. When we arrived to find the sculpture park on private property with a No Trespassing sign posted, we had one of three options: 1. We could trespass and take our chances. 2. We could try to contact the owner and set up a time to light the sculpture. OR… 3. We could improvise and find an alternative location. While we did contact the number listed for the property, we only reached a secretary, who could not give us permission to enter the property.
An integral part of our Kickstarter project is that the backers are part of choosing the destinations we light. Although one of our generous backers chose Hogpen Hills as a location, they also selected a secondary location of the Elizabeth Park Rose Gardens in Hartford, CT- thus, we promptly left Woodbury and headed for our backup location- Hartford, CT. We arrived an hour later to a garden very much in hibernation- something we expected given the winter season. While plants in dormancy are quite beautiful and intriguing, the absence of roses swayed us towards choosing a third location.
Connecticut has a surprising number of public sculpture and Hartford proved to be a fertile ground for the type of sculpture we wanted to work with. Upon finding Transcontinental, we were certain about our need to collaborate with it. The themes of travel and motion in this work created an opening for us to enter and add to the conversation Eisner started.
We use light in collaboration with pre-existing public sculptures in an attempt to reimagine that work, thus creating a new work. Landing Site is a reinterpretation of Transcontinental, but in the form of an ephemeral installation.
'Landing Site' evokes a feeling of futuristic travel, while also addressing the archetype the progressive thinker too far ahead of their time. Dressed in 24 Light Drops with varying shades of greens and blues, the sculpture seems to have traveled from another place and time. Round beams of lights mimic the familiar feeling of traveling by road in the midst of darkness, while the serpentine-like arches of the steel structure suggests a non-linear forward motion.
Hartford, CT provided a great source for reflection… it is also beautiful this time of year! Next stop- Washington D.C.!!!