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LIQUID LIGHT : WORKING WITH WATER
par Liliane Lijn



" Liquid Reflections "
© Liliane Lijn


Since prehistoric times, the moon has been related to water.

Tides, plants and planting were influenced by the moon which in most cultures was considered feminine, and probably for that reason water too was often thought of as a feminine element. The magical connection of the Moon with menstruation is strong and widespread. 'Moon-dew' used by Thessalian witches was a girl's first menstrual blood, taken during an eclipse of the Moon. Water is the blood of the earth and the symbol of our unconscious. Like icebergs we inhabit only partly the dry air of the rational, we are submerged much more than we realise in the deep waters of the irrational.


MY WORKS WITH WATER

Liquid Reflections and the works leading up to it were my first and most complex works with water and light.

The Liquid Reflections series, inspired by my interest in astronomy and the physics of light, was the outcome of 5 years of experimental work with plastics and fire, acrylic polymers, lenses, prisms, light and finally water.

Liquid Reflections is made of a hollow acrylic disc, containing water and revolving on a motorised turntable. On its surface 2 acrylic balls rotate, their motion subject to opposing forces: the centrifugal force of the spin of the disc and the centripetal due to the concavity of the disc surface.

When first poured into the disc, the water condenses into patterns which resemble interstellar clouds of gas, but soon contracts into precise spherical droplets, alive and trembling, which in turn become increasingly homogeneous covering the entire surface of the disc. The water in the disc both influences the total equilibrium and is influenced by it, having a difficult to assess effect on the movement of the balls.

The movement of the balls on the surface of the disc follows the laws of momentum, as well as being governed by centrifugal force and the pull of gravity induced by the concavity of the disc. The balls also act as moving magnifying lenses, bringing to life now one area of the disc, now another with a strange lunar landscape of reflections and shadows. Liquid Reflections are my attempt on an intimate scale to contemplate the universe.

 

Moon Poem is a project which I began in the early 90's. Its relationship with water is metaphorical and symbolic.

Moon Poem is a symbolic union of opposites and homage to the feminine principal of transformation and renewal which for millennia was held sacred in the form of the full moon and its recurring monthly cycle. My idea is to project the word SHE onto the lunar surface large enough to be seen from Earth. This simple but portentious word will be transformed by the movements of moon, earth and sun into its gender opposite HE.

To effect an actual projection is, it seems, technologically impossible at this moment, so for the present I am concentrating on producing a website which will track the real moon's phase (GMT). The image updates every 26 hours and 13 minutes. Every third month the same word will be projected in a different language. In different languages the possible meanings engendered by the reciprocal movements of the moon, sun and earth will vary. I also propose to accompany the gender imprinted moon with a short folktale of its origin. The relevence of this project is that it demonstrates the interlocking nature of opposites.

In his Mexican Writings, Antonin Artaud speaks of a Mexican Indian tribe called the Tarahumaras, who have a cult of the transcendent male-female spirit. The idea is that male does not equal female. They are opposite. To join them and carry them together within oneself is an act of balance.

Today the world desparately needs this act of consciousness.

I would welcome any suggestions or assistance in furthering this project.

 


Biography of Liliane Lijn

 


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