Circular mirrors are placed in the muzzles of five civil war era cannon at Fort Jay on Governors Island.  Each mirror is positioned so that the viewers looking up at the guns now see them filled with sky and the passing clouds.

Historical artifacts hover outside of our lived experience. Though they occupy space around us, they are dead, their 'realness' belonging to a time long before we were born. The clouds drifting through the cannon suddenly reawaken them, pulling them from past to present.  

The guns stand sentry, but gaze back toward the city rather than out to sea.  They speak of lines of sight, of flight and falling, of military might as a grand bluff as well as an explosion of fire, smoke, and metal.  They turn away from their intended target and toward the sky, but their cannonballs pass only briefly through the air before crashing back to earth.

Perhaps there is something universal in that futile gesture, the hopelessness of trying to lift hundreds of pounds of iron to the sky, and a fulfillment in bringing the sky down, at least briefly, to fill the vessel that stared up at it for so long.

Additional clips at:  Thanks to The Trust for Gov Island, NPS, and LMCC.

back to main