Photo by Brian Miller

Photo by Brian Miller

This new sculptural installation by local artists Etta Lilienthal and Ben Zamora

This new sculptural installation by local artists Etta Lilienthal and Ben Zamora presents a tangle of old-school fluorescent bulbs—not those fancy, efficient, newfangled LEDs—suspended from the ceiling like a mobile. (It doesn’t move, however.) Never Finished is always plugged in, always on, though many of the tubes (of about three dozen) appear to have been painted black. The cluster is hung like an airborne game of pick-up sticks, the tubes pointing this way and that, gradually rising in the atrium like a glowing, fractal cloud. There’s seemingly no order or direction to the piece, which has an almost haphazard construction—until you look at all those precisely aligned black power cords. The curse of good lighting design is the cabling and wiring, what to do with all those blocky plugs and transformers. Part of what I like about Never Finished is its somewhat naked, unfinished dressing of the power bricks, which lie in a snake pit on the floor. Nothing is being concealed here for prim art’s sake, though I suspect the passing architects from Suyama Peterson Deguchi must hate the untidy jumble. But the cords above have been painstakingly aligned. They fall on a precise vertical axis, like rain or drapery, contrasting with the unruly tubes. They make you appreciate how light, apart from lasers, is omnidirectional—radiating outward and unconstrained, unaffected by gravity. (Apart from black holes, of course.) The light’s intensity falls off with distance, too, as you walk around the installation to view it from different angles. There’s no correct perspective on the piece, no final sense of proper lighting design (think of James Turrell’s fastidious, numinous Skyspace at the Henry). The only possible order or finality will come when all the bulbs burn out; then darkness will impose its aesthetic. Suyama Space, 2324 Second Ave., 256-0809, suyamaspace.org. Free. 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Fri. Ends Dec. 19.bmiller@seattleweekly.com


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