Who doesn’t love a lighthouse? I don’t know why, but they have always fascinated me. As a matter of fact, I think my ideal retirement job would have me working a lighthouse on some forgotten Newfoundland shore with a house full of cats and yarn and the sound of the ocean for company. That’s probably why I found Joao Araujo Sousa and Joanna Correia Silva’s installation, The Beacon, so compelling.
The Beacon is meant to be a stripped down lighthouse. The conical form bears only the most superficial resemblance to the iconic structures. The installation encompasses the entirety of the lifeguard station and is constructed of weathered wood to make it appear as though it had always stood on Woodbine Beach. At night a solar powered light illuminates the night sky and completes the picture.
The designers envisioned The Beacon not only as a light inviting people out of darkness but also as a call to charitable action. The bottom of the structure is meant to be a temporary repository for non-perishable food and clothing donations that will be distributed to various partner charities. The hope is that this installation will inspire the creation of a network of such structures throughout the city that will support ongoing donations. Alternatively, if the structure is moved to an urban green space, the designers suggest converting it to a wildlife observation tower or shelter.
Regardless of its final purpose, The Beacon draws people in, quite literally. At one point I saw a mom lift seven kids, one after another, out of the structure. It certainly gives me hope about how much yarn I’ll be able to store as a future lighthouse keeper.
Winter Stations runs from February 20th to March 27th, 2017. Follow the boardwalk east starting at Woodbine beach.