Window, 2008: negative or positive?
Three windows in the dining room of the Carroll Museum fill the room with light. In Window, 2008, white charcoal on black paper produce rubbings from these window panes produce a drawing of a window on a tangent wall next to the window. The rubbings form an opaque arrangement that mimics the window’s contour and shape, focusing on the difference between radiant and reflected light.
Window makes visible the aleatory effects of light emitted from the actual window, showing the difference between reflection and radiance, local and distant, symmetry and asymmetry according to light produced by both aleatory and structural effects.
Window places itself in the material implications of light, both aleatory and artificial. That the rubbings generate by applying white charcoal under pressure against a window produces an indexical account of the physical and, thus, material implications of the window. If light passes through the window, then light adheres to the properties of the glass at the time between its entering and exiting, grounding the light and architecture in material. Likewise, if light emitted from a window reflects off of Window to produce its image within the retina of our eyes, then, Window is material as well. Because Window refers to the actual window that emits light which exact infinite permutations, light becomes both aleatory and material.
Window and the actual window have an asymmetrical relationship. On the one hand, its shape, contours, and site appear symmetrical to the actual window. On the other hand, symmetry limits one as reflective and another as radiant. One surface lightens by artifice, another by phenomena; one spatial, another temporal; one opaque, another transparent. The artificial tonal shift on the surface of Window opposes the phenomenological luminosity of the window, which, during the day, simultaneously lights the room and Window. During the day, greater light emits from the window than its mimetic counterpart, Window, showing that reflection requires prior radiance. The relationship becomes one automated by the actual window’s ability to emit radiant light. These variants produce an asymmetry between two objects, both designated under the title of Window.
Window refers to the window without functioning as one. Its malfeasance as a window points to the requirements that the window fulfills: that it be transparent to let light into an architectural space while dividing an interior and exterior. Whereas the window concurrently divides while permitting light to pass through its glass surfaces, Window permits light to reflect from an opaque surface without dividing an interior and exterior space. This difference between transparency and opacity sums the relationship between the local and distant with Window’s local tone remaining fixed but shifting according to the ambient luminosity, which, again, shifts according to the window’s illumination by sunlight.
Window will not, in fact, be a window. Window mimics a window in its shape and contour, but nothing could be more opposite with its opaque surfaces. If a window forms a negative dependant upon radiant light at a given time, then Window produces its positive form.
charcoal on paper tacked to the wall of Carroll Mansion in Baltimore