Date created: 2021
Light is something we all–humans, plants, animals–need and consume. Yet light can feel abstract and intangible. The artworks in Bending Light make light more “visible” by demonstrating how light bends, using transparent and translucent acrylic rods. Creatively combining this material with the surrounding natural environment also demonstrates the physics principle known as refraction. Slowing down to look at light helps us witness the importance of light in our lives: photosynthesis in plants, our own ability to see, and even the human need to synthesize light into vitamin D that keeps our bodies working.
The “Sunburst” installation serves as an oculus, which park-goers can look through, magnifying the environment around them. Engaging sunlight as it travels across the park from east to west, the art also acts as an abstracted sundial for regular visitors. The two “Reading Rods” installations are places where visitors can see how things such as words, colors, and patterns look when reading through the translucent material. Use the free, on-site “Bending Light” publication to experiment with light refraction and make your own discoveries by observing the optical effects that occur when reading and viewing all kinds of things through the reading rods.
Studio Lauren Zoll designed the project in the spring of 2020, and the design was influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic raging at the time. While researching, Zoll came across a sketch by modernist architect Alvar Alto that illustrated sunlight reaching a person who was lying ill in bed, and was the architect’s response to a tuberculosis outbreak. The outbreak radically influenced architecture to embrace the outdoors and the healing power of sunlight; feeling akin to this prior era, Zoll used sunburst imagery to experiment with light refraction and healing in a public park.
Lauren Zoll founded Studio Lauren Zoll in 2011 to focus on experimental practices in creative endeavors. As the lead artist, Lauren invites other female artists into the practice for individual projects. Among her experiments are light, electricity, black beans, and nanomaterials. She is based in Indianapolis.
Bending Light was created as part of Indy Art & Seek, a 2020 project of the Arts Council of Indianapolis and Keep Indianapolis Beautiful.