Roden Crater, Solar Ranch & James Turrell

Morning Explorations

Before heading off to the school the crew took a trip up a mountain. No ordinary mountain this mountain – and the land around it – has been bought by artist James Turrell. For the past 25 years he has been busy creating his own, unique form of ‘land art’. Not yet open to the public, the crew had the honor of exploring the installation as it stands now as their host Mark and his wife know James and the crew working on this piece.

An ex-pilot this is a man with a unique perspective on the land around us. Turrell has actually shaped the mountain to fit his vision: You walk through tunnel ways that lead off into chambers, natural light beams dance through cylindrical openings and round shapes, you pass through from light to pitch black darkness, fumbling to feel the wall and find your way. The whole space plays with your perception of space and gravity. Our voices echo all around.

Out in the open on top of the mountain, looking over the edge you see the landscape from a perspective that stands you in awe of mother nature. Passing clouds cast dancing shadows, encroaching slowly across the land. As Turrell owns the land all around the mountain, the landscape is free of any buildings (as Mark pointed out, his ranch is perhaps the only glitch” on Turrells canvas). This was an imposing experience, back on the ground everything suddenly seemed out of proportion.

At the Star School

Nirit, Murray and Lucy filmed short introductory interviews with the Star School team. Justin treats us to a longer interview. He spoke to us about the concept of “Ke”, which feeds into the school, into how he teaches the children and how he lives his own life: everything being related to everything. He spoke of his community, culture and language. We were enthralled. Nirit, so much so that she almost forgot to concentrate on the filming she was so busy listening !

Felix gave Tom and Kate a crash course in Net Fusions Objects and Fireworks and how to optimize graphics for the web

Jon updated the multimedia content for the Rez02 site

Annabel finished off the editing on some footage from our week at Tuba City /Moenkopi and began editing the interviews

Back at the Ranch

Sunset shadow dancing. Just as the Father sun was beginning his evening performance, the van pulled up outside the Hogan. Murray put on a CD & turned up the tunes. Rather appropriately the first tune was the classic Dont worry be happy”. Perfect for a tired crew to shake off the stresses of nine solid days working, moving and dealing with each other in confined spaces! Shadow dancing against the backdrop of an expansive landscape, a majestic sunset and the San Francisco Peaks (one of the four sacred mountains of Navajo land).

Bugs dinner: Down at the house the crew were treated to Mark’s infamous carrot sauce pasta. Delicious. The black, beetle like flying bugs that come out at night here were most intrigued by the lure of lights, people and carrots. Eventually we gave in and retreated outside to the darkness where their attack was subdued a little The evening progressed with a showing of Miles – the nine year old son of Mark and Kate showing us his first digital film. Nirit had spent the evening editing the mornings shooting with him. First time results were impressive. Following the premiere Murray and Gill were joined on the trampoline by Jon.

Mystic texts: Late into the night, Nirit and Jon discussed the Kabala (a heavy spiritual exploration into Judaism & numbers – decoding our future). Three guys visiting the area who are also staying at the ranch – Devin (New Jersey), Jason (Connecticut), Aktan (from Turkey) – have an interest in this, Jason has been reading about this for the past few years. The guys are traveling around with Jason, who has a students grant to research Native American spirituality. The conversation got interesting as Nirit translated parts of the Hebrew text and the guys discussed what they knew. Jon was a little unnerved by it all, but he felt better after asking Nirit to accompany him back to the Hogan.