A few weeks ago in Jersey City, the window bays of the former American Can Company factory buildings (CANCO lofts) were illuminated with 8-foot high neon letters stretching 900 feet across the surface of five buildings. The words read: It is green thinks nature even in the dark.
From the Pulaski Skyway, the New Jersey Turnpike, and from planes flying into Newark Airport, millions of commuters and passengers will see these words, which will remain lit day and night through April, 2007. It's a large-scale installation by conceptual artist, Mary Ellen Carroll, who was commissioned by the Precipice Alliance. Carroll's giant work is the inaugural commission of the Alliance, which was launched this year with the founding mission to raise awareness around climate change by funding "high-profile, innovative public artworks that address this urgent matter, while simultaneously functioning as an educational and informational forum."
Lest you fear that this long-term light display runs counter to the concept behind it, it's important to note the environmental considerations that went into its creation. Indestructible Language is a carbon-neutral work, which uses low-wattage, energy-efficient transformers and lead-free glass tubing. Solar panels have been installed on-site and The Bonneville Environmental Foundation is donating credits from their Green Tag program to offset the energy used to run the lights.
The linguistic aspect of Carroll's piece is nearly as interesting as the environmental -- it's meant to be a looping phrase that can be read from any starting point, with the various components underscoring pieces of Precipice's mission. An explanation of Carroll's phrase can be found here. The building itself also has an interesting history -- a 1 million square foot industrial rehab which now contains residential lofts. If you're on the turnpike in the next few months, look out for the big red environmental message (but try to keep your eyes on the road).
Sprinkle a few commas in Carroll's text and you get a very provocative message.
It is green, thinks Nature, even in the dark.