Part of my experimentation with rendering for the project will include trying to capture some of the feeling here. The above collage merges a photo of the moon with an image I made while visiting the site in December. The Octagon is a complex oriented to eight different lunar events on an 18.6 year cycle. This is very important to my design. The image demonstrates that light pollution from the modern urban environment in Newark creates a conflict of interpretation.
Additionally, as represented by the chopped-up nature of the image, it is difficult for the modern visitor to ‘see’ the site because of modern intrusions. I used textures of applied paint to bring the image out of the 2D realm and to represent the dynamism of the site. Part of our experience there should somehow reflect on the notion that these sites were likely filled with activity and energy during ceremonial practices.
I want my project to explore the decontextualization of space and to obscure the boundaries of the frame as it pertains to the historic site. We can conjecture that through the manufacture of these sites, the Hopewell might have been creating an idea of ‘inside’ and ‘outside.’ Were they bringing the outside in by digging a ditch to fill with water as seen at the Great Circle? Were they bringing the heavens down to our world by organizing geometry about celestial events? And, more to the point of historic preservation, how do we conserve a landscape? Do we draw boundaries around something and create historic districts? As I design, should I focus on the internal landscape contained in the earthworks? Or do I focus on the external relationships of the earthen architecture to one another and the natural surroundings?