Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Straight Shot


Straight Shot
Photo & Text Copyright 2009 Seattle Daily Photo. All rights reserved, including reproduction or republishing.
Perhaps it isn't easy to tell from the angle of my shot, but these stones form a straight line. Not just any straight line. I learned from the nearby plaque on the ground that they are perfectly aligned in calibrated intervals. They are an art installation erected by Perri Lynch in 2007. "In land surveying, as in art, spatial relationships may be expressed through classic algebraic terms. Between each pair of stones, the distance doubles over the course of a measured kilometer. Field adjustments have been made in tune with natural forms and features. One may sight through [holes in] the stones, taking up the stance of a surveyor. In this particular case it's a straight shot."

Do you see the two holes that are bored into each stone? They are perfectly aligned so that you can look through them from beginning to end. The stones are in an orderly progression from south to north and mark the Sandpoint Calibration Baseline in Magnuson Park. Seattle Public Utilities uses the baseline to calibrate its equipment, and it is also used by surveying, engineering, public safety, law enforcement, transportation and scientific entities to verify accuracy and calibrate their electronic distance measurement equipment. So, in this piece of art's case, form truly does follow function. It's not quite Stonehenge, but at least if you come upon it you'll have an inkling what it's about. Don't you wish the Druids or whomever had left an explanatory plaque near the stone circles they erected in Britain? Those also seem to blend scientific and artistic purposes. The hole we are peering through below does not seem quite perfectly round because a spider had built a nest sac in there :-).

10 comments:

Bibi said...

Well, that IS interesting, and yes, I sure wish the Druids had left a 'why and how' plaque. The Egyptians, too, for that matter...and the Mayans...and....

Maya said...

Interesting! I'm going to send this to my friend, Eileen, who is a surveyor!

brattcat said...

Kim, the first is a beautiful shot, but I can't thank you enough for the second one, for getting down and shooting through the holes to demonstrate what you so graciously explained.

Virginia said...

Quite unusual. I'd like to try and see how many ways I could shoot those stones. A fun excercise I think. Great post Kim!
V

Mary said...

I like this photo very much.

Kim said...

Thanks all, and V., I happened to have two cameras and several lenses with me when I came upon this, so like you, I tried many approaches. My suggestion: Take a tall ladder or wrangle the use of a cherry picker. This is really a challenging installation to capture because it extends for a full kilometer. Also, it was dusk and raining. . . Mt. Rainier was looming just to the left so that is a possibility to include, too. But, it's a difficult site to capture due to the length of the domino-like chain of stones. . .which each are taller than I am.
-Kim

Bob Crowe said...

But I thought Seattle was full of Druids. There sure aren't any left at Stonehenge except for hippie posers. I didn't know about this work and I'd like to see it the next time I'm in town.

Stacey Dawn at "Addicted to The Click" said...

VERY interesting - nice, too!

Don and Krise said...

Boy, this would be hard to shoot. I think you did a fine job Kim and I, for one became a little smarter today.

lewi14 said...

Wonderful shots. Great installation.