May 17, 2016

Rhythms of Life Land Art

Rhythms of Life

51 Structures, 7,500 people, 16 Countries, 7 continents, 16 Years.  The ‘Rhythms of Life’ contemporary land art project is of a scale and scope unparalleled in modern art history. 

A glimpse of the making of the 'Rhythms of Life' land art project.

A connected series of 51 major stone structures in 16 countries across all seven continents and visible from space.

This bronze sculpture has been the fulcrum for the 'Rhythms of Life' Land art project. 14 horizontal stone iterations of this form have been created across all seven continents.

Chyulu Hills, Kenya
The Chyulu Hills in Kenya is south east of Nairobi. A unique site surrounded by volcanic lava flows and rich in wildlife including elephants, giraffes, lions and zebras. It was the largest ever gathering of Maasai and a unique contemporary community project. The three forms to be built were decided upon after collaboration with the tribal elders. 1,270 Maasai created three major stone structures; a lion’s paw, a shield and the ‘Rhythms of Life’ symbol.  Most of these people had never previously picked up a stone for such a purpose. Their normal daily tasks mainly relate to their home and to cattle. Nor had they ever undertaken such a large task as a whole community before or used stone for the purposes of a major construction project. The people came from many kilometers away, walking for many days. They had never been paid for such a task. As many women as men participated. It was the first time that gloves had been used by most of the participants.

A unique moment in time: Andrew Rogers and 1270 Maasai - the largest ever gathering of Maasai for a community undertaking - created three major stone geoglyphs near the Chyulu Hills in Kenya.

Namib Desert, Namibia
‘Sacred Fire’, is located in far north-west Namibia on the border with Angola in a harsh, dry environment, surrounded by rugged mountains and sand dunes; one of the most remote places in southern Africa. ‘Sacred Fire’, is the 49th structure of Rogers’ global Rhythms of Life land art project completed with the help of 85 Himba from the Namib Desert on 17 August 2012. The Himba people believe in ancestor worship - they connect to ancestors through a fire known as a sacred fire. This fire is a point of contact between the living and the dead. It is kept alight continuously which has been a tradition for centuries. The stone structure created is the traditional surround of the sacred fire with an entrance from the east. Scale – 14 meters (46ft) in diameter. It is the form selected by the elders of the tribe for the community to build.The Himba, considered to be the last true nomads in the world, do not use stone for construction purposes – they live in thatch and mud huts and live in a traditional manner. What started out as a puzzling and abstract concept to the Himba became a meaningful and celebrated structure. The structure consists of approximately 10 tons of stone gathered from the desert surrounding the site. The stones were shifted by hand and the structure was built by hand. No foreign matter was brought on to the site - the work consists of entirely natural local materials which will reintegrate into the environment over time. The participants comprised men, women and younger members of the tribe across three generations from grandparents to grandchildren. Every day the women in the workforce mixed powdered red ochre with oily butter fat. The thick paste cools and protects their skin and hair. The red color symbolizes blood and life.

'Sacred Fire' was built with the help of the Himba. They connect to their ancestors through a sacred fire kept alight continually in accordance with tradition. This form was selected by the elders of the tribe.

Dakshin Gangotri Glacier, Antarctica
‘Rhythms of Life’ in Antarctica was created on a frozen lake near the Dakshin Gangotri Glacier. This 47th structure is the final link in the chain of a connected series of drawings on the earth.  The ‘Rhythms of Life’ project now spans all seven continents.  Environmental considerations were paramount and no foreign matter was introduced into the pristine environment. No lasting impression, nor trace of the structure, was left behind. An ephemeral installation, ‘Rhythms of Life’ was created with the minimum disturbance to the environment. This moment in time was captured in photographs, film and satellite images, the moraine gravel comprising the structure was then swept up and returned to its source. 

See the first piece of land art created on Antarctica. "Rhythms of Life" was created on an ice lake near the Dakshin Gangotri Glacier. Local moraine gravel was used to create the form which was captured by ground, aerial and satellite photography then swept up leaving no impact on the pristine environment.

Cappadocia, Turkey. 'Time and Space' Land Art Park
Comprising thirteen major structures, most built by hand, the 'Rhythms of Life' project in Turkey is also the largest contemporary land art park in the world. More than 10,700 tons of stone were used to build the lines of these structures which measure approximately 7 kilometers (4 miles) in length. These structures are best viewed from above, such as from a hot air balloon. The structures that lie furthest apart are separated by a distance of 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles).

The making of the largest contemporary land art landscape in the world - "Time and Space". Comprising 13 major stone structures it took over 4 years to create and involved hundreds of people from the local community.

An amazing aerial film of the 'Time and Space' land art park in Cappadocia, Turkey; the largest contemporary land art park in the world. It comprises 13 major stone structures/geoglyphs and is located in a 2.5 km stretch of the beautiful Karadag mountain valley.

Ibiza, Spain
Thirteen solid basalt columns forming a Fibonacci sequence located on the edge of a cliff facing the ocean. The tallest column, ten meters in height, is highlighted in 23-carat gold to reflect the message with the setting sun on the day of the Winter Solstice.  The sequence is laid out around the circumference of an ellipse alluding to the trajectories of the planets moving around the sun. It is a vision of time and space and the interconnectedness of humanity. The Fibonacci sequence is demonstrated both in terms of height and spacing.  Extracted and carved in Turkey, the 420 tons of basalt were loaded onto a dedicated ship and transported 4,400 kilometers to Ibiza, Spain. The columns are mounted on basalt bases weighing from 7.2 tons to 12.5 tons. The tallest column weighs 19.5 tons. Construction commenced on 17 January, 2014 and was completed one week later on 23 January.

‘Time and Space – The Speed of Light’ is the 51st land art structure in the 'Rhythms of Life' land art project - a series of connected drawings on the Earth which span the globe.

Amazing time lapse video of the first ever alignment of the setting sun at the Winter solstice in Spain with ‘Time and Space the Speed of Light’.

California and Utah, USA
The location of the 'Rhythms of Life' site in California is on the Black Mesa, Yucca Valley, near Joshua Tree National Park in the Mohave Desert. 'Atlatl' is based on a 3,000-year-old Native American petroglyph of a spear thrower that Rogers saw on nearby rocky outcrops at Coyote Hole and also in the Rodman Mountains. 'Rhythms of Life' is constructed of light-colored stones providing contrast to the dark volcanic rock of Yucca Valley. The completion of the geoglyphs was celebrated with a Native American ritual, the Smoke Ceremony, as well as traditional songs and dances.  'Ratio' and 'Elements' are located in a 75-acre sculpture park in Green River, Utah. Ratio, a spectacular structure, 13.5 meters (44ft) high, was completed on an outcrop of land high above a major highway. The top of the sculpture is covered in 23-carat gold. This reflects the message by the sun’s rays for miles in both directions. There are two black blocks in Ratio in Utah which is a comment on the dangers of genetic engineering and playing with nature.  The second structure, 'Elements' comprises four 10 meter high (33ft) columns, one topped in 23-carat gold, representing the four basic elements, Earth, Fire, Water and Wind.

In 2008 Andrew Rogers travelled to the Yucca Valley in California, USA to create two geoglyphs; 'Atlatl' and 'Rhythms of Life'.

Spissky Hrad and The High Tatras, Slovakia
'Sacred' was built on the mountainside below heritage listed 2500-year-old Spiss Castle. The symbol derives from an ancient coin found in the castle grounds. The outline of this geoglyph measures 836 meters (2743 ft).  'Rhythms of Life' is situated on the High Tatras. It is constructed of handpicked granite rocks excavated from a local quarry. In excess of 1200 cubic meters of rocks were used for the two geoglyphs which were completed with the assistance of hundreds of people including Romany Gypsies.

The making of 'Sacred' which is adjacent to the spectacular Spissky Hard in Slovakia. Rogers then travels to the High Tatras to create the 'Rhythms of Life' geoglyph.

Jomson and Pokhara, Nepal
The geoglyphs were built at two sites by 1,000 people against a backdrop of spectacular snow-capped mountains. 'Rhythms of Life' and 'Labyrinth' (a symbol of contemplation associated with both the Hindu and Buddhist religions), are located in Jomsom in the Kaligandaki Gorge - the deepest gorge on earth. They face sacred snow covered Nilgiri mountain, which soars 7000 meters (22,965 ft.) above sea level and are adjacent to the renowned Kaligandaki River, which becomes a raging torrent in monsoonal times and is held sacred by the local people. 'Knot', which is one of the eight auspicious symbols of Buddhism, was created in Pokhara, in the Seti Gorge. The construction of the three Geoglyphs took two weeks. The lines of the Geoglyphs stretch approximately 2550 meters (8366 ft.) and comprise over 4500 tons of rocks, which were shifted by hand.

Rogers travelled to the Kaligandaki Gorge near Jomsom to create the stone geoglyphs 'Labyrinth' and 'Rhythms of Life' facing the sacred, snow capped Nilgiri Mountain in Nepal. His 3rd geoglyph, 'Knot' is in Pokhara.

Rajasthan, India
'Rhythms of Life' (90m x 75m/295ft x 246ft) is located in an arid semi-desert area in Rajasthan near the town of Jobner. The site is near a 400-year-old fortress and a 1200-year-old temple. The 'Rhythms of Life' geoglyph was created in stone with the assistance of 1000 workers, many of whom were brightly clad women wearing traditional saris. In keeping with local beliefs the site was blessed with water from the Ganges and milk curd. The stone structure 'Ratio' rises to a height of 8.2 meters (29 ft.) and is constructed from the local red limestone for which the region is famous. It is situated on a steep hill, close to a temple devoted to the Hindu goddess of fire and next to an ancient fort.

Beautiful Humanity: 2,500 people from around Jaipur in Rajasthan attended the celebrations and elaborate closing ceremony after the completion of Rogers' stone structures.

Roger's 'Rhythms of Life' geoglyph in India was created with the assistance of 1000 brightly-clad workers. 'Ratio' a vertical stone structure, is nearby on a steep hill near an ancient Hindu temple.

Gobi Desert, China
One thousand soldiers from the Army of China worked to create three large geoglyphs consisting of approximately 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) of rock walls, weighing thousands of tons. The remote site is located in the Gobi Desert facing the snow-capped Qilian Mountains at an elevation of 2,000 meters (6600 ft). The location adjoins a UNESCO World Heritage area and is adjacent to the Western Beacon and terminus of the Great Wall of China, the largest man-made structure on Earth at 6,400 kilometers (3,976 miles) long. The 'Caveman' derives from a petroglyph dating from 476-221 BC, located in the Heishan Mountains north-west of Jiayuguan city. 'The Messenger' comes from a drawing found near the geoglyphs in the tomb of an emperor of the Weijin Dynasty dating from 220-265 AD.   'Rhythms of Life' geoglyph in China is the largest horizontal stone structure in Rogers' global project.  It measures 200 meters by 200 meters (656 x 656 ft).  The geoglyphs were unveiled to the sound of the 450 drummers of the Chinese Army band, which includes drums over 2 meters in diameter.

With the assistance of 1000 soldiers of the Army of China Rogers creates three geoglyphs near the western terminal of the Great Wall of China in the Gobi Desert.

Akureyri, Iceland
With a population mainly of Norse and Celtic origin, Iceland was settled by Vikings in 874 AD. The town of Akureyri sits on “top of the world” only 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the Arctic Circle. The most glaciated country in Europe, Iceland lies on the divide between the Eurasian and North Amercian Tectonic plates. This volatile region of the Earth’s crust undergoes constant geological activity giving rise to frequent earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and a host of geysers. The moss-covered lava fields and unusual rock formations that abound are the hallmark of the Icelandic landscape and result from the constant battle between ice and fire.The 'Rhythms of Life' site straddles Eyjafjordur (Fjord of Isles), which opens into the far north of the Atlantic Ocean. The construction was carried out in temperatures ranging from -1 to 10ºC, sometimes in snowyconditions. The 'Eagle' derives from Icelandic mythology and is the emblem of Akureyri and one of the four guardian spirits on the Icelandic coat of arms, the others being the Bull (west), Dragon (east) and Giant(south). The runic letter 'Rune' is positioned on the slopes of Mt Vadlaheidi, across the fjord from Akureyri where the two other geoglyphs are located.

'Celebration of Life', a group of pregnant women amid the geoglyphs, raising their arms to welcome the sun and to express the continuity of life. This photographic event underscored the themes of unity and continuity of the Rhythms of Life.

'Celebration of Life', a group of pregnant women amid the geoglyphs, welcoming the sun and expressing the continuity of life. This photographic event underscored the themes of unity and continuity of the Rhythms of Life.

Andrew Rogers creates three stone geoglyphs: 'Eagle', 'Rune' and 'Rhythms of Life' in Iceland - the land of ice and fire. Akureyri is the northern most of all of Roger's Rhythms of Life project sites.

Geelong, Australia
In Geelong, Australia, 'Rhythms of Life' and 'Bunjil' (the Wedge-Tailed Eagle) were erected for the You Yangs Regional Park on the occasion of the 2006 Commonwealth Games. 'Rhythms of Life' is constructed of hard limestone found in the area. On the 'Rhythms of Life' geoglyph, the largest rock weighs approximately twelve tons and features a carving of 'Bunjil', the great ancestral spirit who created the Kulin land. He made the animals and the plants and taught the people how to behave on Earth. He also taught them how to conduct the ceremonies that would ensure the continuation of life. The largest rock of the Rhythms of Life points towards the You Yangs Mountain Range where the 'Bunjil' geoglyph is located.

A joyous opening ceremony with indigenous dancers and music in which eucalyptus leaves were burned as a tribute to Bunjil.

Kurunegala, Sri Lanka
In Sri Lanka two geoglyphs and one stone structure, 'Ascend', are located 3.5 kilometers (c. 2 miles) apart, around a lake. They stand on sacred monoliths that rise 350 meters (1,148 ft.) above ground level.  The geoglyph 'Pride' is a stylized lion whose form was adapted from a painting inside an ancient local Buddhist temple.  The dimensions of 'Ascend' reflect the Fibonacci sequence.  

Rogers creates two geoglyphs and a stone structure around a lake in Kurunegala, Sri Lanka. They are located on sacred monoliths that rise 350 meters above ground level.

Altiplano, Bolivia
In Bolivia there are three stone geoglyphs set on the highest ridge of the Cerro Rico Mountains at an altitude of 4,360 meters (14,300 ft). They are located six kilometers (3.7 miles) apart and are visible from one another due to the clear atmosphere at this altitude. These geoglyphs were constructed with the help of 800 workers, most in traditional dress, many of whom were women carrying babies on their backs. 'Presence' is derived from local petroglyphs of a shaman in Cerro Isipina, San Antonio, while 'Circles' is inspired by rock art in the area of Betanzos. Before the commencement of any work, a ritual animal sacrifice was conducted as part of a Pachamama ceremony to consecrate the ground and bless the creation of the geoglyphs.

Rogers creates 3 geoglyphs on the highest ridge of the Cerro Rico Mountains at an altitude of 4,360 meters (14,300 ft). They comprise the highest contemporary Land Art installation on Earth.

Atacama Desert, Chile
In Chile, the Rhythms of Life site measures one and a half square kilometers (0.7 square mile) and rises to an elevation of 2,603 meters (8,540 ft). It starts in an exotic location, Llano de la Paciencia (the Plain of Patience) in the Atacama Desert, the driest desert on Earth and spreads in an easterly direction, climbing the Cordillera de la Sal (Salt Mountain Range) at the head of the Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon). Within this site are three geoglyphs entitled 'Ancient Language', 'The Ancients' and 'Rhythms of Life'.  'The Ancients' is based on a pictureglyph attributed to the Tiawanaku culture (100-1100 AD) known as Lord of the Scepters, found in the Rio Loa area near Calama. Located on the Plain of Patience at an altitude of 2,469 meters (8,100 ft) above sea level, 13 kilometers from the town of San Pedro, its stone walls are 1,200 meters (3,937 ft) long. They are made of volcanic rock, guano and clay.  'Rhythms of Life' is located at an altitude of 2,603 meters (8,540 ft) on the Salt Mountain Range, which rises from the Plain of Patience and forms the head of the Valley of the Moon, a lunar-like geological formation approximately 14 kilometers from the town of San Pedro. 'Ancient Language' is inspired by a petroglyph of the Aguada culture (600-900 AD) carved into stone in the surrounding area, Yerbas Buenos, 20 kilometers from the Rio Grande. This geoglyph is 80 meters (263 ft) long and 2.8 meters (9 ft) high.
Arava Desert, Israel
In Israel, the 'Rhythms of Life' site stretches over one square kilometer (0.386 square mile) near ancient Nabatean ruins and a spice route from antiquity. It comprises three geoglyphs: 'To Life', 'Rhythms of Life' and 'Slice'. An additional stone structure, 'Ratio', was completed in 2004 based on the proportions of the golden ratio. It is located on a mountain top not far from Sapir.

Rogers' first 'Celebration of Life' ritual, involved forty-two pregnant Israeli women, bellies exposed, who lined the completed geoglyphs in an affirmation of their celebration of the life principle.

This Google Earth Tour of the 'Rhythms of Life' land art project was created with the assistance of Google Earth Outreach.

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