My art studio is located in the old Charles Axel Smith garage in Berkeley. In the heart of the garage is an automobile turntable built in 1911 by the Lansing Wheelbarrow Company. This old turntable rules the garage like ancient armor. It is also full of intrigue. "What's under there?" "Where's the button?" "Can I walk on it?" I've recently started a series called Time Machine, based on the turntable and the garage. The Time Machine series makes use of the space and light of the garage (whether day or night), the shape and majesty of the turntable, and various patterns found in the bolting. There are many opportunities for rotating specks of light on dark and dark on light in the turntable bolts. This mixing of specks is something I learned from Corot. An element in some of the nocturnal Time Machines is the one foot square vent in the ceiling of the garage. It vents all the way through the second floor where the chauffeurs used to live, and through the attic (where J. Malkovich lives), to the sky. There is a little patch of sky available to anyone who stands in the center of the turntable. It's as if the stars in the sky are connecting with the five center bolts of the turntable.
There's something about backlit prayer flags that reminds me of poppies. The paper thin colors attached to small strings, blowing in the wind. They appear fragile but withstand most elements. One can find them anywhere - in Himalayan passes or on back porches. They are believed to bless the surrounding countryside. I bought a string of prayer flags last week at the Tibetan store on College Avenue. I was instructed to hang the blue first, and then the other colors in order. The five colors represent the five elements. Blue symbolizes the sky and space, white symbolizes the air and wind, red symbolizes fire, green symbolizes water, and yellow symbolizes earth. According to Tibetan traditions, health and harmony are produced through the balance of the five elements.