Public Art City of Shoreline #19: Lantern Man

Sunday, August 6, 2017

1 Proceed
Photo by Jerry Pickard

City of Shoreline Public Art Collection
Interurban Trail in 1/4 mile increments starting at N 145th St
CleanSpaces award and City of Shoreline Parks Department 2012

3/4 Train Has Parted
Photo by Dan Short

Lantern Man Mile Markers  Unearth Collective, artists. Steel and Paint

Artists’ Statement: Referencing the Interurban Trail land's past use as a train line, we replicated a selection of rationalized drawings from a 1904 manual of hand signals used by railroad workers. In the past, the language of hand and lantern positions gave signalmen a 'voice,' allowing them to communicate visually over noise and across distance. Today, this signalman maintains his 'voice' by way of announcing the miles. But what else is he telling us?

1/2 Go Back
Photo by Dan Short

In addition to explaining the system of lantern signals, the manual drawings signify more and leave some questions unanswered. The signal man, gazing diagonally into the distance, also has posture, uniform, gender, emotion and facial expression, all of which can influence interpretation of the message. The diagrams convey sequential arm motion but tell us nothing of speed or delivery. We can imagine that some information may have been conveyed fast, as in: "APPLY AIR BRAKES," or with gravitas: "GO BACK," or in regret: "TRAIN HAS PARTED."

1/4 Apply Air Brakes
Photo by Dan Short

By propelling this historical figure into the present‐day, we question what has been lost and gained in industrialization and the rationalization of the workplace, in which all of us are entwined. By digitally re‐drawing this obviously old image, using the old trick of trompe l'oeil, presenting it within an old tradition of etching, and using modern fonts, color palettes, and materials, we reference what been lost and gained in modern production.

--Text courtesy City of Shoreline


Post a Comment

We encourage the thoughtful sharing of information and ideas. We expect comments to be civil and respectful, with no personal attacks or offensive language. We reserve the right to delete any comment.
Facebook: Shoreline Area News
Twitter: @ShorelineArea
Daily Email edition (don't forget to respond to the email)

  © Blogger template The Professional Template II by 2009

Back to TOP