Explore the Sculpture
Q: Why are there twelve shafts?
A: Conceptually, the twelve shafts represent a year – a full cycle of the sun. There are actually only six months between winter and summer solstice, so each shaft is perpendicular to the sun at about two-week intervals between June 21st and Dec 21st.
Q: Why are the shafts different lengths?
A: The lengths of the shafts are inversely proportional to the lengths of the days during the course of the year. So the tallest shaft is the longest, since the winter solstice is the shortest day. Conceptually, this is because you would need to collect more sun on a short day to get the same energy. Visually, the forms reflect the sine wave that describes the lengths of the days – a shape we found to be quite beautiful.
Q: Why are the bases of the shafts in a curve?
A: The bases of the shafts must be offset from each other to prevent shade from falling on the solar panels. They are set into the hill in a golden spiral. The golden spiral is a form found in many places in nature, from the seed pattern of a sunflower to the spiral of the Milky Way. We are repeatedly amazed at the beauty of these natural forms.
Q: Are the lights really made from old WWII tank parts?
A: Yes, the triangular lenses on the lights are actually recycled WWII tank periscope prisms. We had them roughly sandblasted so that they would diffuse the LED lights. Each prism is lit by 6 modern high-intensity LEDS -- three on each end. Almost 3000 LEDs total! The aluminum frames that hold the prisms and LEDS in place were designed by us and fabricated for this sculpture.
Q: What are the shafts made from?
A: Aluminum. We chose this material for many reasons: it’s strong and light; it uses a good percentage of recycled material; it will not corrode, and it will gradually weather in a collaboration with visitors and nature.