Off-The-Grid

The following is a descriptive list according to our experience in Albuquerque and the surrounding mountain towns:

  • Abundant Nature
  • Mountainous
  • Endless Sky
  • Funky- think music… not scent
  • Colorful
  • Art-Filled
  • Mystical
  • Cozy
  • Enlivening
  • Dessert-Laiden 
  • Quaint
  • Awe-Inspiring
  • Inviting

We landed in Albuquerque on a crisp, sunny morning after traveling through the night from Austin, TX. Though we were exhausted from the trip, elation quickly replaced our fatigue as we soaked up the sun and 360 degree mountain views. Since check-in for our lodging was after 4pm, we enjoyed a light hike followed by a brief tour of the outskirts of Albuquerque. We can safely say that in the state of New Mexico, beauty and majesty abounds. 

For our stay in the Albuquerque area, just as we had done in many cities along our journey, we arranged a barter deal with an eager Airbnb host. We meandered through the winding and rocky roads of the Sandia's, arriving to a bodacious off-the-grid home nestled in the mountains and complete with breath-taking views. 

(Side Note- if you are planning a trip to Albuquerque, you should absolutely stay in Bryan and Olivia's Cozy One Bedroom Apartment

As artists, we are frequently inspired by our immediate surroundings. Since the mountains were in sight at every turn, we knew with unwavering certainty that the mountain-scape was our next lighting subject. We decided on two light installations- one would take place after sunset, while the second would occur before sunrise- something we had never tried before. 

For our first light work, we traveled to the town of Jemez Springs in the Jemez Mountains. We chose a a popular mountain-scape site with a waterfall and cavernous rock formations. The location was easily viewable from the highway and featured an area to pull off the road.

Jemez New Mexico Lighting

Within minutes of setting up, cars begin to pull off the road. One by one they filed along the parking lane. At one point, there were so many cars lined up with lights on that we were unable to even take photos of the installation. In the case of some, curiosity led them to walk down into the caverns and sit amongst the installation. This was unexpected, though certainly welcomed. Eric, Dakota, and Emma- thank you for your adventurous spirit!

As we already mentioned earlier, our second installation in the Albuquerque area tilted closer toward experimental. For the first time, we set up our light installation slightly before sunrise rather than after sundown. We decided to compose it inside of an old fire house situated on a peak in the Sandia Mountains. 

The simultaneously subtle yet surreal qualities of working with the sunrise were a point of intrigue- something certainly to explore further!

For those that have been following this lighting voyage, you know that Albuquerque is our second to last stop, thus the Kickstarter project will soon come to a close. Although Denver is our final destination and the last official light installation for "Traveling at the Speed of Light," we believe that people want to see more… we would LOVE to keep going all the way to the West Coast. Will you help us continue to make art open and available to anyone in the public who happens upon it?? We are accepting donations in exchange for prints, art books, posters, post cards, and calendars. If you thoroughly enjoy the work we make, THEN PLEASE DONATE TODAY! We will also be launching a Patreon page for any supporters who would like to become long-term Patrons. Our Parteon page will be introduced in our final blog post for the Denver light installation. Stay tuned… and … as always… thank you for your corroboration. 

The Myth of Failure

Failure is defined as the omission of performance or occurrence- the lack of success. More often then not, we are taught to avoid failure and to succeed if at all possible. Some synonyms for failure are nonfulfillment, defeat, negligence, dereliction… words all steeped in negative connotation. Quite simply, in the minds of most, failing is loosing. During our time in Dallas, however, failure revealed itself as a positive catalyst towards success. 

We arrived in Dallas with a specific site to light- the Mustangs of Irving (the largest equestrian themed sculpture in the world). As the Mustangs were a specific request from one of our backers, we were hopeful that this equine sculpture would work well in collaboration with lighting- the last thing we want is to disappoint a backer. We arrived in the daylight to a scene of massive bronze mustangs sprinting through gushing fountains. Our hope was to not light the horses, but actually the water moving beneath their feet. Sadly, we soon found out that this sculpture was already very well lit at night. Given that we would not be able to contribute anything of value to the sculpture, we set out to find a backup plan. 

Our next stop was Pioneer Plaza- a park set in the heart of downtown Dallas featuring another massive equine sculpture/installation and a small, but very open cemetery occupied by pioneers and notable characters in Dallas history. We had a vision of what we wanted to see, but when we began to set out our lights, we realized very quickly that we had two problem. Our first problem was the intense light pollution. Along those lines, our second problem was that for a scene this big, we simply did not have enough lighting. After trying many scenarios, we grew continually discouraged and frustrated. We had hoped to acquire 8 very large 135 watt LED lights by the time we had landed in Dallas, but due to back orders with our light company, we did not yet have the lights we needed for a scene as large as Pioneer Plaza. Despite wanting to admit it, we knew this was a failure. We painstakingly chose to pack up for the night and walk away. While we don't love revealing our defeat, we snapped a photo of the lackluster outcome of the installation at Pioneer Plaza- it never really became much of anything other than an orange tree. 

While we were certainly upset by two botched installations in a row, we planned our third attempt with the notion that this failure was leading us to something better. Failure allowed as a chance to experiment and better our work. 

Irving, TX, just outside of Dallas, is laden with canals and vast stretches of pathways for walking. Accompanied by the canals are various quaint bridges. One steel arched bridge in particular beckoned to us- the charm! We agreed upon the bridge as our installation site. For some reason, Monet came to mind … the way he painted water… the way he chose colors that were more imaginative than realistic… the way his paintings are so often serene- like they are a daydream. 

As we began to set up, a wonderful woman and little girl approached us- they appeared to be family, but not mother and daughter. The little girl was very excited. Almost in unison with the woman, the little girl asked "what are you doing with the lights." The little girl loved photography and was hoping that we were creating a viable photo subject. We explained our light installation. The little girl and the woman were concerned about the time because the little girl had to be home by 7pm. When we told the little girl and the woman that it might take longer to install the lights, the woman asked if she could help us. Reluctantly, we agreed to her assistance. We handed the woman a tape measure that had been preset to a little over 4ft. "Could you help us measure the space in between each light?" we asked. "Yes! Of Course," she exclaimed. She measured swiftly and with determination. Helping us to mount the lights evenly, she measured several lengths of just over 4ft.

We exchanged friendly conversation with the woman and the girl. The woman wanted to know why we were doing this work and what it really was. We discussed the ephemeral qualities of the installation- the fact that it was experiential more than tangible. To our delight, the woman supposed, "so, then, you are creating something which does not exist?" "Yes, exactly," we said enthusiastically. The woman then continued to measured another length- we installed the next light. We subsequently completed the installation with vigor and reflected while repeating the steps- measure then light, measure then light. These are the fruits of failure.

We want to thank you all for patiently waiting for our blog posts and for following this project. Your support is so crucial to to the continued success of this artwork and any work we complete in the future! If you really enjoy what you are seeing and experiencing, please consider donating to Knomad Colab HERE.  Austin is next!! Cheers and have a lovely weekend! 

 

 

Abandoned

As we come around the bend towards the finish line of our Kickstarter project 'Traveling at the Speed of Light,' we can say with certainty that we have learned, and will continue to learn, a great deal. We have a far better understanding of what will be successful… and what might fail. We are far more aware of our interests and the geographical subjects that we work with best. And... we probably have multiple bodies of public light-based artwork that will grow out of this cross-country project. 

Our time in Kansas City, MO was brief, but purposeful, as we not only acquired a wonderful new friend, but also found a new and compelling light subject to work with in the future- abandoned and dilapidated structures.  

From day one of this project, lighting an abandoned space was on our radar. Enter Morgan Miller- a fantastic Kansas City based photographer, who also happens to be warm, welcoming, and just plain fun to be around. Morgan heard about our Kickstarter project through a mutual friend's Facebook post and decided to look into it. Then… she donated. We quickly became friends through social media, which led to us orchestrating a light installation at her parent's farm property in Lawson, MO.  

We weren't exactly sure what we were going to do when we arrived, but after scoping out their deserted barn, we knew we had a winner. It was indeed our chance to work with an abandoned space, but in somewhat of a safe, controlled environment. We begin by working with lighting the inside.

Then, we stepped outside.

The outside of the barn was undeniably intriguing- the light seeping through the cracks. The structure suddenly came alive, touting a creepy and mysterious glow. The lights were on, but no body was home. After witnessing the power of the lights bursting through the gaps of the wooded barn walls, we spent most of the night outside!

As of now, we are on the hunt for more abandoned spaces and anticipate this as an upcoming series once our current project comes to a close. Next stops are Dallas and Austin!! Texas… we might mess with you… just a little!