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Old 11-13-2004, 09:41 PM
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Jose Jose is offline
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Location: East Harlem/El Barrio/Spanish Harlem
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Helio-Chronometer Sundial Art or Eyesore?

The Helio-Chronometer

Art or Eye Sore?

Located at East 104th Street at P.S. 72, the Helio-Chronometer (Reloj Solar), Sundail was dedicated on October 1, 2004.

Conceptualized by artist Marina Gutierrez and put together by Architect James Cornejo. The Helio-Chronometer was produced by CITYarts. Below are the project details as provided and published by CITYarts:

Project Description
As the sun travels the sky, a central indicataor pole (gnomon) casts a moving shadow along an arc-like path. This shadow path varies from the longest Summer arc, to the middle path representing both Spring and Fall and the briefest arc of the Winter Sun. Each of the three "Seasonal Arcs" are outlined on the wall in steel cable. Additional cables, radiating from the central pole, trace key hours. Six individual "Culture Arcs" are positioned at specific time point on each season track. Each "Cultural Arc" references distinct and in some cases overlaopping cultural traditions and is made from 1/2" sheet aluminum, with a permanent (powder coated) color finish.

To affirm cultural continuity and recall a connection to nature and science in the urban evvironment. Each "Cultural Arc" contains symbolic and aesthetic elements reflecting the ebb and flow of migration in the local East Harlem population. With these references we hope to create a visual metaphor connecting the movements of peoples and cultures with the movement of sun and earch. Inti-huantan, the Native American Quiche word for sundail, literally translated as "sun anchor". With the Helio-chronometer we aspire to anchor the present to our diverse and collective heritage.

Cultural Arcs
Pre-Columbian motif with Mexican "papel picado" style arc.
References the ubiquitous popular cut paper art form used for public decorations and decorative flags

Hip hop arrow & Graphic Arc
This arc reflects the dynamic energy of new graphic forms from graffiti to design.

Andean textile snape with Mimbre pottery motif Arc

Combines pre-conquest indigenous motifs from North & South America

Coqui fron with sugar cane ARc
The iconic symbol of Puerto Rico is paired with an emblem of the arcricultural cash crop that fueled the colonial economy of the "new world".

Rooster with palm frond Arc
An arc of topical palm accompanies a Chinese cut paper style rooster representing sunrise. The rooster symbol occurs across cultures from the African Diaspora to Eastern European.

Egypitan eye with African arc of Indinkra symbols
The shadow of an Egyptian eye falls across an arc of combined indinkra symbols representing learning from history & freedom from bondage.

We strongly believe that "Helio-Chronometer (Reloj Solar) Sundail, CITYarts' 253rd project, will become a "Gateway" to East Harlem and signify community rejuvenation and cultural diversity. The cultural symbols included in the artwork will be integrated into the curriculum of P.S. 72 and the students will be able to futher contribute to the community by fiving guided tours (Tsipi Ben-Haim, CITYarts Executive and Artistic Director)

Many have gazed and wondered, "what is it". Still others hope it is not a permenant community fixture, and then again, many love it. What do you think?
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Old 11-26-2004, 04:34 PM
VirtualBoricua VirtualBoricua is offline
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Eyesore for sure...

While well-intentioned, I think the project appears confusing. The symbols are not clearly defined and/or identified and therefore remain a mystery to most. While they may be "indigenous" in origin, their application is uniquely "American" and does not resemble anything I have ever seen in Latin America or the Caribbean. The overall design is basically ugly; I would have liked to see something more "attractive" and "appealing" on that huge (and still under-ulitized) space.
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Old 11-28-2004, 09:54 AM
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Jose Jose is offline
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Location: East Harlem/El Barrio/Spanish Harlem
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I am afraid I will have to agree with you. I just can't relate to it. Really, for the community of the Puerto Rican migration, it should have been given to a local Puerto Rican artist to do. And I would have preferred a mural like the one on East 104th Street. The other new Hispanic groups in the area have not had a long enough history to be put on chronometer.

My inclination is that it be taken down, put somewhere downtown and the wall painted with a mural more in keeping with this communities' history.
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