Wondrous; carving the sky with words.
Words chosen from the library's collection are beautifully silhouetted.
Projecting onto the surrounding architecture.
Posing in the colorful shadows.
The colorful light display attracts attention..
Library visitors walk through the scupture's light reflection.
  • In →
  • Interactive,
  • LED,
  • Outdoor,
  • Steel

At night, three of the world’s most powerful LEDs project intense color through hundreds of words drawn from the library’s collection, casting overlapping shadows in six colors on the landscape around the sculpture, the library wall, and visitors that pass by. Wondrous came from Joe’s memory of visiting the public library as he grew up – taking home as many books as he could physically carry – and then reading them all simultaneously until phrases from fiction, history, biography, and science all swam around in his head and recombined. We imagine a young person going to the library and having the words and phrases of our cultural heritage swim around in their heads, overlapping each other, competing for importance and ultimately recombining into new sentences with new meanings as that young person’s mind forms. A great deal of community interaction went into this piece making it very popular with visitors. Joe wrote a computer program to arrange the phrases contributed by library-goers so that verbs tended to follow subjects and objects follow verbs. This encourages the reader to move their gaze through the swarm of words and create phrases with new meanings.

completed, 2008

19' x 3' x 9'

galvanized steel, LED lighting

Marana, AZ

Commissioning Agency:
Tucson Pima Arts Council

Joe O'Connell