Thursday, October 6, 2011

THE LAMPLIGHTER to appear at the First Thursday Art Walk

The novelette by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince), is about a little boy who lives on an asteroid with one rose and three volcanoes that come up to his knees, one of which is extinct at that. When The Little Prince realizes he is unhappy, he sets off to learn about life and visits seven nearby planets, the last of which is Earth. On his travels, he meets The Lamplighter, a man under orders to extinguish his lamp at daybreak and light it again at dusk. The Lamplighter explains how his task, once useful, has became absurd over time as his planet began spinning more and more quickly. Now that a new day occurs every minute, the lamplighter is so busy there isn't a moment to sleep. Is not The Lamplighter a metaphor for our own condition and times? I know it happens to me. I get so busy doing things I think are of greater consequence that I often miss the smaller, simpler things that really make up the truly significant stuff (seeing the stars, sharing a sunrise, listening to a friend, making a dance, putting my hands in the earth, talking to the elephants). The Little Prince is a fable about how money, ego and power close our hearts over time and turn into dimwitted adults.

With a 10' rolling lantern and a spinning, paper mache planetoid (conceived of and constructed by inventor/designer Clinton Lee Bliss), performance artist A K Mimi Allin will roll through the Seattle nights, illuminating and extinguishing her lamp once per minute. When you see her wink of “good night” and blink of “good morning," think of the things of consequence in your life, then come and commemorate a person who believed in you when you but a child by painting a golden square onto my lamppost. By mid-October, my lamppost will be golden by the light of our beliefs.

The Lamplighter will appear at six artwalks this October: Wallingford (5 October), Pioneer Square (6 October), Fremont (7 October), Capital Hill (11 October), West Seattle (13 October) and Greenwood-Phinney (14 October). This will give me the opportunity to light and extinguished my lamp 1,440 times over the next course of two weeks. After that, my lantern will be installed at The Phinney Center in Greenwood for the remainder of the month.

This project supported by a CityArtist grant from the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs. Cosmic thanks to inventor/designer Clinton Lee Bliss for manifesting a whimsical, working lantern! Thanks also to the talented & beautiful Mylinda Sneed & her brilliant son Beckett Arnold for their physical & emotional support. And to The Fremont Arts Council for use of the Powerhouse. Thanks to Christopher Peragine for his time and drawings. And to all those who support public art throughout the universe.