Letter: Look there! Up in the sky! It's art!

Posted 9/13/23

Crossing Hix Bridge at night you might glance northwest and notice an odd blue light on a hill, like a little arrow pointing to a constellation. Did Jenny Holzer buy property in …

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Letter: Look there! Up in the sky! It's art!

Posted

Crossing Hix Bridge at night you might glance northwest and notice an odd blue light on a hill, like a little arrow pointing to a constellation. Did Jenny Holzer buy property in Westport? Did a Starlink satellite crash in Noquochoke Orchards? The truth is not so weird.

The blue light is a private work of art conceived of and designed by the property owner, a quahog fisherman on the Westport river. A couple thousand blue LEDs outline the tripod posts of a 140-foot high tower, creating a visual obelisk that is at once both monumental and demure. The appearance changes with the viewer's angle, creating the impression that some of the lights are ambivalent about what they are pointing toward; reminiscent of the work of Dan Flavin, but with a simplicity and attention to the site that suggests Agnes Denes or Andy Goldsworthy.

What the lights in fact point to is a 10-kilowatt wind machine quietly spinning away atop the tower and generating several times the 100 watts that the LEDs themselves consume. As our society is poised to build massive wind energy infrastructure in the ocean, one might suppose that the blue arrow points to wind energy, or perhaps to micro-wind, which could be a local, self-reliant adjunct to the big ocean schemes (the micro wind turbine in question has generated almost 60,000 kilowatt-hours since 2019). Or perhaps the quavering blue arrow points towards simple self-reliance, a virtue that we hold in common even as its practicality recedes into a distant ideal.

Good public art has a theme in it for everyone. And what will people say about the color blue? Does it symbolize support for the police? Does it symbolize the loneliness people suffer in today's increasingly socially isolated world? I caution against too deep a reading of the color choice; according to the artist, "Blue was the only color they had!"

My own enthusiastic involvement in the project (I was employed as the up-tower technician) stems from my love of renewable energy and appreciation of art of all colors. If the Blue Arrow is destined to become a nocturnal "art destination" for selfie-takers and air-bnb hepcats, then I hope they are hip enough to honor the low-pollution vibe of the wind machine tower and ride their bicycles!

Lu Yoder

Westport

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