Website: Roden Crater 1995-2003
RodenCrater.org documented James Turrell’s Roden Crater project. It was commissioned by Michael Govan and The Dia Foundation in 1995. It remained online online until 2003 when it was taken down in an attempt to stem the tide of uninvited enthusiasts to the site. An achive of the site is available here.
Websites were relatively rare at the time and this was conceived of as a living catalogue, both guide and documentation. The site was organized with a vertical spine of images that I felt spanned a theme running through James Turrell’s outlook: From Inside Looking Out to Outside Looking In. The front page acted as a Table of Contents to seven chapters divided into two sections.
Turrell often refered to the crater itself as an eye, as an instrument to harvest light. A top map of the crater designated the section leading to the plans and construction, one of Turrell’s many aerial photographs of the crater marked Roden Crater Landscape.
The fourth, or central, image – Equinox light piercing a hold in an Indian ruin – showed the crossing over from the exterior view to an interior state. This section described a series of prior spaces that inspired or informed Turrell’s work.
The final three images are from a favorite images of Turrell’s, a medieval woodcut depicting a person peering out of a starry dome into reality, and that reality pierced by pinholes of light. The first section, No Image, No Object, No Focus, was an abridged catalogue of Turrell’s artwork. Seeing Yourself See contained writings about his interest in perceptual psychology. Finally, Holes in Reality contained autobiographical narratives of light and flight from Turrell’s childhood.
The images here reflect the design constraints of the period: the images are 640X480 and the site was originally designed in frames, each image as a page in a book.