Solar Chamber

In collaboration with Luis Balmaceda
Site-specific sculpture in the Fontelo woods
POLDRA – Public Sculpture Project Viseu
Portugal, 2019-2021

Solar Chamber (Inversion) is a site-specific observatory that takes its inspiration from the ancient archaeoastronomy sites of the Americas. It seeks to rescue links between the cyclical, cosmical and ritual aspects of the human with its surroundings, in order to situate and reconnect the body with the local landscape and the global sphere in times of ecological crisis and environmental degradation.

The temporary construction was built in the woods of Fontenlo Park, and has an exterior platform from which to gaze upon the immediate surroundings, whilst also look down into the chamber’s interior space where a stone found in the park has been placed. The stone is covered by a mirror and used as a means to reflect the sky and invert the sun; enabling a visitor to observe down within the chamber as if one was standing in the Southern Hemisphere, thus creating an apparent ‘inversion’.

The chamber is also aligned with one of the most important astronomical events and rituals since ancient times: the June solstice. This marks the moment at which the sun reaches its highest altitude (in the North) to then begin its return to the Southern Hemisphere, a time in which many Andean cultures celebrate, to this day, the beginning of a new year.

On June 21, at 12:30 the sunlight projects fully into the space.