Jun 9, 2013

The Light Box

I can picture it perfectly. It’s a rectangular box with sharp edges, even the top. It’s transparent and shiny and mirroring the surroundings. The longer sides and the back are convertible so that there is no inside and outside on a sunny and warm day. I am not sure how big it is, maybe 500-700 people, but with the sides and the back open allowing everyone who wants to join whatever happens in the front, it’s unlimited. I am talking about The Light Box!

We all know what a Black Box is. A dark room for theater and concerts. In Umeå there is also a White Box, a kind of gallery. The Black Box is of course perfect for it’s purposes. Total control of the light on stage and in the room. And during the dark parts of the year it’s nice and cozy to slip in to a warm and dim place to be entertained for an hour or two. This time of year, on the other hand, the Black Boxes feel like a gloomy sack, and you have to be really motivated to trade the precious early summer light outside for hours in the dark.

I am talking about living on the 64th latitude. Right now the day gets 40 minutes longer every week! Well, that is true for two more weeks, then it starts going the other direction and we are all panicking. Tonight the sun is setting 10.47 PM, rests for a little while beneath the horizon and rises again at 2.29 AM. No one in their right mind spends one minute more of the day inside than they have to! Trying to get people to pay money for being inside, no matter how interesting it might be, is like thinking you could get anyone to purchase time outside in January… good luck with that!

So, I frankly think my idea is brilliant! No more no less than a stage in a glass room! Letting us be inside and still not missing out of the rare and short-lived light that allures and haunts us.

To be honest, usually this time of year is only about the light. May and June can be disappointingly chilly, even cold, and a lot of times rainy and windy. So no matter how lovely it sounds, outdoor concerts and theatre is a very risky business for everyone involved. Now, imagine having the advantages of the light and the safety of a closed room! And when the light is combined with warm weather: an open room! Isn’t this just the perfect example of eating the cake and having it too?!

OK, so: a rectangular glass box with sharp edges. Transparent and shiny reflecting the surroundings. Walls convertible, erasing the lines between inside and outside. I was initially thinking the waterfront as the location for it. I still would like that, the closeness to the blue river and the new building for cultural arts, Väven, is attractive. But it’s filling up down there. And the whole idea of making the Light Box accessible to a lot more people than the 5-700 who can be seated inside requires a pretty big area. I am not done with the exact planes here as you can tell, but give me some time and I will!

Now, you might be thinking, what about the winter? Fair question. But not to worry. Glass nowadays is a very durable material and can be energy sufficient too. The box will get a winter coat on the roof though, an extra layer on top of the glass. 

And I can picture it perfectly. A lit up glass room surrounded by white snow, frost and alight torches. Winter and summer a diamond cut for eye and ear, adding a missing piece to the scenery and the scene: The Light Box!

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