Portal to Another Dimension
An excerpt from Phoebe Hoban’s essay about the Rhythms of Life land art project
In a contemporary world where the digital age rules, from pictures made perfect through Photoshop to our all-pervasive social media, how can an artist preserve and communicate his pure sense of wonder? If you are Andrew Rogers, you do it with people, places and stone. Rogers’ passion for finding remote, unspoiled spots on which to build structures that commemorate human history and our ancient, common bond, seems boundless; and his apparently endless energy and curiosity are embodied in his Rhythms of Life project.
Jules Verne’s famous character, Phileas Fogg went around the world in just 80 days. It has taken Rogers a lot longer to circumnavigate the globe. But Rogers has left a lasting memorial to the local culture—and to his own aesthetic philosophy–in each exotic location. (And like the fictional Fogg, he has made excellent use of hot air balloons—not to mention small planes, helicopters, motorized hangliders and satellites–since his work is best seen from above.)
Rogers’ Rhythms of Life, a unique global land-art initiative, began 14 years ago, and now includes 50 large-scale land-art works, built in 13 countries that span 7 continents. In order to create these far-flung installations, the artist has engaged the collaboration of over 6,700 people, from a remote nomadic tribe in Namibia to an army of Chinese soldiers in the Gobi desert. He has employed technology ranging from large earth-moving machines to computer models to cutting-edge GPS systems. But it is the humanistic aspect of his project, linked not just by its artistic intention, but by its participatory nature, that is one of its most distinctive—and profound—features.
A Day on Earth is the most complex and ambitious of the structures. This impressive corridor consists of twelve 9-meter-tall columns, each inscribed with a set of humanistic values (like Commandments) leading up to an imposing 64-foot tall arch that looks like the portal to another dimension. The colonnade of columns is spaced according to the mathematical ratio for the Golden Ratio (1:1.618) famously used in the Parthenon. A second Golden Ratio governs the width and length of the corridor of columns.
*Phoebe Hoban has written about culture and the arts for a variety of publications, including The New York Times, New York Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Vogue, Vanity Fair, GQ, Harper’s Bazaar, ARTnews, and The New York Observer, among others.
Her biography of Lucian Freud, Lucian Freud: Eyes Wide Open, was published simultaneously by Amazon and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in April, 2014. Her biography of Jean-Michel Basquiat: Basquiat, A Quick Killing in Art, (1998) was a national bestseller and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.