Solar Time

University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 

2018

Project Team:

Naomi Darling - Artist

Darrell Petit - Artist

Maya Gamble

Supreme Storage Trailer Co.

Camp Design Studios

Nicole De Araujo

Aaron Pillay

Sean Kernan - Photography

John Solom - Photography (UMass Amherst)

The project, Solar Time, is part of the Crosstown Contemporary Art (XTCA) exhibition organized through the University Museum of Contemporary Art for the summer and fall of 2018. 

Extending upon the theme of forging a link between the University of Massachusetts, Amherst campus with the town of Amherst, and the broader geographical context of 42.4 deg N, 72.5 deg W, Solar Time transforms a standard 20’ shipping container into a space focused on observing the effects of light changing over the course of a day, over a period of several months. The simple rectangular shaped container painted bright industrial orange will sit still amidst the iconic modernist Roche Dinkeloo architecture of the Fine Arts Center, the abstract steel sculpture of modernist Robert Murray, and the new School of Management, currently under construction, design by BIG. 

From the exterior, a person walking across the plaza in front of the FAC will see a brightly painted container marked prominently with the Latitude and Longitude of its exact location. Both ends of the container will be fixed open, inviting pedestrians to divert slightly off of their path of movement and into the world within the container. Inside the container, light will be directed into the interior through an oculus oriented directly South. An ovoid beam of light will fall on the north wall, a CNC milled surface that will trace the sun’s path with interpretive markings enabling the visitor to tell the time on any given day. Aside from the milled panels to “read” the time, we envision the container to be empty, a calm and meditative space allowing one to reflect on the power of the sun as the giver of light and life. 

As climate change becomes a reality, recognizing the potential of the energy of the sun for energy and daylight, is the first step that we as a society need to take as we move towards a clean energy future.