Welcome to my coverage of Arca, an experimental, science fiction diorama featuring the work of Max Pointner, Ian Spacek, and myself. Enjoy!
About this creation
Take a look at Max Pointner's coverage of the project here.
Take a look at Ian Spacek's coverage of the project here.
The planet has become bare. What once was a land of towering forests, expansive grasslands, and thick jungles is now nothing more than a rocky sphere orbiting a dying star. It was the darkness, seeping out of the planet’s core, which harkened back a time of emptiness, a time before color, movement, life. Yet the Inhabitants of the planet were prepared. As the surface of the planet was cast into destruction, they erected a new structure, a pyramid on which to found new cities, and in which to sustain life. Built high on the apex of the tallest mountain, it had little contact with the ground, and was designed to withstand the corrupting darkness. Protruding from the sides of this monument were many cubes of glass, each containing a garden of lush grasses, verdurous plants, and drooping vines. The Inhabitants lived on the top of their edifice, constructing cities of skyscrapers, streams, garden towers, generators, and monorails. All that was necessary to sustain life on the now barren planet was housed within this citadel, and the Inhabitants remained there for many years.
Yet darkness finds a way. The Inhabitants had designed their citadel to keep out all chaos, all contaminants, even to defy time’s destructive power. They did not realize that the threat they faced was not the absence of life, but an entity in itself, hungrily swallowing all it encountered. Seeping up through the rock, it struck the base of the edifice, crept up its central core, and ate away at the life it contained, shattering glass gardens, toppling towers of civilization, and squeezing the walls into that elemental shape: the cube.
Arca was inspired by the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the ziggurat of exotic plants built by King Nebuchadnezzar for one of his homesick foreign wives. Here, instead of a typical ziggurat, the structure points downward, held only by a small support on a bare rock. The structure itself is unnamed, and the title “Arca” refers to the build as a whole. “Arca” is the Latin word for box, and it specifically refers to the black cubes of the dark power, not the gardens. “Arca” is related to the Latin word for “hidden” and usually refers to a chest or sealed box hiding something within it. This is in direct contrast with the trans clear garden cubes, the contents of which are showcased. To put the irony plainly, that which contained and displayed the work and prize of the civilization has come to dominate the focus of the build.
For a detailed chronicle of the building process, visit Max Pointner's post.
Arca portrays three ideas: cultivation, consummation, and corruption. I was tasked with building the consummation section, the pinnacle of civilization from which the Inhabitants control their structure. Thomas Cole first used this word to describe the peak of a nation’s existence in his series of paintings The Course of an Empire. Arca combines the second, third, and fifth paintings of this series by portraying a civilization at its consummation (painting three) in harmony with an Arcadian monument representing the natural world (painting two) while quickly decaying into black nothingness (fifth painting). This corruption was built by Ian and is represented by the black 4x4 cubes.
Ludicrous amounts of olive cheese went into the production of Arca City's vaguely dilapidated aesthetic.
To break up the monotony of the skyscrapers and vertical greenhouses, I included some flex tubing monorail tracks that weave through the cityscape.
In keeping with the tradition of posting photographs of Lego collaborations with their collaborators for size comparison, here's a shot of the three of us, Max Pointner on the far left, Ian Spacek in the middle, and myself on the far right so you can get a sense of the scale of our build. Heh... heh...