2010 (prod. 2010 – 2013), ed. of 50, 7 pages, 28 x 25”, silkscreen printed acetate and ink-jet printed on Lexjet® terylene fabric sandwiched with reflective Mylar® inserted into turkey oven bags. Hand-bound to a custom armature spine of milled billet aluminum of 6061–T6511 alloy attached to two 1000-watt high-pressure sodium lights with outer borosilicate glass bulbs broken away leaving intact fused-quartz, gas-discharge inner arc tubes and single-ended, screw-based outer jacket mountings. Issued in a bigleaf maple, pepperwood and plywood box with a bent, louvered ballast faceplate fixed to the lid. Wood provenance silkscreened on box bottom. Copies of light are offered to all collectors.
“Sun cave bliss” is light’s principal text, a narrative that describes entering and working under the lights of a Humboldt County, California, indoor marijuana grow scene, and later tending the diesel generator that powers it.
High-pressure sodium lights are the most commonly used bulb in Humboldt County indoor marijuana growing—two of these form the spine. Reflective Mylar® that often covers the walls of indoor grow scenes—to reflect lost light back onto plants—sandwiches the last two pages. Turkey bags, in which the printed material is placed, are the preferred container for smuggling and storing individual pounds of processed weed due to their heat-resistant food-grade nylon’s exceptional ability to block the migration of aromatic molecules.
The box containing light incorporates a louvered metal faceplate from an electrical ballast required to moderate electrical current for grow-lights. The box’s four wood varieties, other than plywood, are from Southern Humboldt. Its rough plywood skin and triangular form, like a sample carefully chopped from a building’s corner, suggest the functional architecture of grow-scene structures.
The box is constructed to be wall-hung in a position which allows the book’s pages to hang vertically once unscrolled, revealing, through their transparency, the page-to-page amalgamation of the design.
The first pages of light are vertically divided into four sections of text and image. Alternating rectangles of gray ink block out parts of the main text and also provide a backdrop to others, emphasizing the way the aesthetic play of light is incorporated into the book’s form—a strategy most noticeable within the transparency of the pages themselves. The alchemical symbols which appear on the pages and dominate the first view of the book are there as if to say that the transfiguration of mute material within an artwork can be seen to mirror the transformation of light itself into growth; growth either of plant life or, in the case of an artwork, meaning.
At the right margin a narrow band of interlaced graphs and figures—which show wavelength, lumen and wattage emittance from high-pressure sodium lights—disassembles as the reader lifts through the pages. Together these margins are a key or map of the transfiguration of materials that become light, and light itself: plant growth. Unlike the delimiting lines of medieval stained glass leading which both frame and hold the colored glass they surround in one dimension, the black lines of the chemical and alchemical symbols lie over other layers: an inner-arc tube diagram and electrical schematics. The single silkscreened burst of yellow from the inner-arc tube diagram is both an abstraction of light and a product of the material processes which surround it.
A collage of crude photographs of brightly lit, closely packed indoor pot plants, scavenged from indoor growing websites, echo the main text. These images are arranged above three circles of micro-printed articles surveying the history of indoor pot-growing, materials used and debates within pot-growing communities in Humboldt County over indoor growing’s many hazards. Immediately below these circles are other images scavenged from the internet, including two rough drawings (one from www.onlinepot.org) giving do-it-yourself guides to wiring a small indoor growing operation. A border of photographs below these drawings is of actual ballasts and light bulbs, a break from abstraction and distortion. On the bottom half of this spread are pages of product details on the Hortilux high-pressure sodium light bulb micro-reproduced in a vertical column above the colophon. The horizontal line of graphs provides color bi-level analyses of light, bulb life and electrical use in Humboldt County.