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Catching the Equinox

by John David Mooney

Santiago de Campostela, Spain
September 18 – 22, 2017

John David Mooney is creating a monumental light installation in Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain, opening on September 19, 2017 for the Tenth International Conference of INSAP (Inspiration of Astronomical Phenomena.)


Both a day and night piece, this site-specific work will occupy 18,000 sq. ft. of the classical courtyard of the Faculty of Geography and History of the University of Santiago de Compostela. During the day, “Catching the Equinox” traces the shadows cast by the courtyard’s central monument on this 18th-century neo-classical building. By night, the courtyard is transformed into an enchanting enclosure bathed in blue and white light created using 1,100 solar powered glowing LED lanterns.

Visible above in the night sky during this Equinox is Vega and its neighbor, the constellation of Hercules.

John David Mooney comes into this space and reacts immediately to his surroundings.

Taking advantage of the the 22’ high central monument which he sees as a gnomon.

Remarkably the solar noon of the autumnal Equinox is marked by the central monument’s shadow cast in a true north alignment. In fact, researching for his piece, the artist discovered that the entire structure is askew to the city’s fabric and aligned with the solstice and equinox.

Mooney converts the shadow patterns to a bright white drawing by day and a glowing gnomonical white night at night.

Bursting out of this geometric shadow pattern, is a series of blue curvilinear light lines similar to the ocean’s waves. These waves glow in the rich blue of the Galician flag and visually anchor the courtyard’s monument symbolically to the tower of Hercules.

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