“Phantasm” is a multi-phase public art project on the dual themes of light and the affinity between life forms. All photography by Larry Ripple
Commissioned by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, “Phantasm” is located on downtown Pittsburgh’s Strawberry Way. Consisting of 4 street mounted round light boxes, “Phantasm” acknowledges and attends to the individual navigating the streetscape by offering beautifully executed glowing images that appear both familiar and alien. The human and animal eyes represented in the images both mirror and speak to the pedestrian, echoing the reciprocal relationship present in successful street graphics.
The images of Phantasm, while based in representation, are seen anew, and somewhat abstractly, due to their shift in context and coloration. While retention of the familiar contributes to a hospitable environment, the overall experience of the work is characterized by the sense of heightened awareness (of self and site) present in the act of looking.
An analogy is made between the inherent properties of light (the sum of red, green, blue, producing white), and the affinity of divergent life forms. This is conceived as an optimistic gesture and is at the core of the work.