Lightscape, 2019

Widgery Studio in collaboration with artist cj fleury. Inspired by the sun’s movement across Blair Station, brightness cascading into all its open spaces; Lightscape is informed by the proximity of Ottawa’s national centers for research, science, security and observation, and the diversity of the LRT rider population. The grand star’s first light, the sunrise, is seen as a metaphor for awakening, inspiration, ideas; its day-long journeys of brilliance, Canada’s sense of possibility.

Multifaceted yet minimal, the art is made of dichroic glass and slim, stainless steel cable. Airy, code-like screens are created from thousands of small, glass rectangles that flutter around long silver threads; echoing breezes as they catch and throw light and color in surprising rhythms. The screens are suspended from the roof in groupings tied to the proportions and structure of the architecture. They announce each stairwell and flank both guide ways.

Marrying elements of space research, mathematical order, color and light with the movement of wind, trains and people; the art transforms Blair Station into a breathing organism; shimmering screens wave in a subtle and stately manner, responding to rushes of air from incoming trains and weather. This sense of aliveness is furthered by the integration of architectural lighting, whose effects can programmed to relate to any number of events within the station and beyond. The light might “announce” the arrival or departure of the train, shifting rhythm or frequency.

Ethereal, ephemeral, ordered, a luminous veil of glimmering bits, animated representations of the activity and energy of this station, this city: blooms of code, evolving ideas, flows of shifting light, reflections and pattern…. Readable on many levels, Lightscape expresses a commingling of precision and chance, science and art, Natural, digital, and imaginary realms.

Riders rushing from bus-level to platform and ticket areas may experience the various elements of Lightscape as separate way-finding devices. Conversely, time-rich station users may explore the whole site intentionally, as one would visit an art centre; seeing different parts of the station as different galley spaces, and interpreting each composition as a unique expression of light, movement and place.