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October 17, 2013 11:57 AM   Subscribe

O’Bryan walked me slowly down the steep side of the mesa, to the desert floor, so I could see Star Axis in its entirety. The work’s centrepiece is a 10-storey staircase that lets you walk up through the rock of the mesa, your eyes fixed on a small circular opening that cuts through the top of the pyramid. The first section of the staircase is roofless and open to the sky, but the end of it has a stone overhang that makes it look and feel like a tunnel. This ‘star tunnel’, as Ross calls it, is precisely aligned with Earth’s axis. If you bored a tunnel straight through the Earth’s core, from the South Pole to North Pole, and climbed up it, you’d see the same circle of sky that you do when you walk through Ross’ tunnel. Gazing up through it in the afternoon glare, I saw a patch of blue, the size and shape of a dime held at arm’s length. But if the sun had blinked for a moment, fading the heavens to black, I’d have seen Polaris, glittering at the end of the tunnel, like a solitary diamond in the void.
"Embracing the Void," Ross Andersen, Aeon.
posted by Rustic Etruscan (9 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hooray for weird New Mexico land art!

Here's the website for Star Axis, which has some animated schematics of the site. You can also donate to the project, by way of the Land Light Foundation, which also has a webpage, but it points back to StarAxis.com

If you dig around, you can find more hints of where Star Axis is located, and you could probably see it on Google Maps, but I won't write more here, in consideration of the artist.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:14 PM on October 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


- an illustrated book about birds / You see a lot up there but don't be scared / Who needs actions when you got words
posted by kinch23 at 12:47 PM on October 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Holy mackeral, I just learned about this place reading a book about destination art whose titles I can not remember.
posted by bq at 1:01 PM on October 17, 2013


He better enjoy it while he can. In 500 years the axis of the Earth will have shifted and Polaris won't be where it is now in the sky.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:27 PM on October 17, 2013


Yes. The article mentions this. Please read it.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 2:32 PM on October 17, 2013


Rustic Etruscan: Yes. The article mentions this. Please read it.


The article is also 8,200 words long. Be kind:)

(I've been reading the piece with interest, but it could definitely stand serious trimming.)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 3:01 PM on October 17, 2013


I'd love to see the construction, but $100.00 for the privilege? The "no photos" requirement negative-clinched the deal for me, at least!
posted by Agave at 3:18 PM on October 17, 2013


This ‘star tunnel’, as Ross calls it, is precisely aligned with Earth’s axis. If you bored a tunnel straight through the Earth’s core, from the South Pole to North Pole, and climbed up it, you’d see the same circle of sky that you do when you walk through Ross’ tunnel.
That's a pretty highfalutin way to say it points north.
posted by bitslayer at 5:59 AM on October 18, 2013


Tonight's forecast: Mostly void, partially stars.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:01 PM on October 19, 2013


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