Naima, (Light Ship) 2012-2015

Light, Glass, Trailer

9 x 8 x 7.5 feet

Naima (Light Ship) is a Light, Land and Sky Sculpture that was first installed in a remote area of the Mojave Desert in 2013. Consisting of a chamber of light and glass hidden inside a 1969 Santa Fe Trailer and large enough for 4 people to sit inside, Naima is an immersive environment for experiencing the cycles of light and time that exist in nature.

Inside Naima, hundreds of handmade cast glass objects collect light from the sky. The interior changes as light shifts throughout the day, sunrise to sunset, or as clouds pass overhead. There is no electric light in Naima.  Light enters through a transparent roof, directly connecting the piece to the sky and its' cycles of day and night, weather, and seasons. Naima is lit solely by the sun and moon.

Naima is built for the slow read, for watching as light slowly shifts in rhythm with the time signature of the natural world. It takes 3 hours to watch the sun go down inside the piece, through all the subtle stages of twilight, and then you wait for the moon to rise and illuminate the chamber. Viewers are invited to spend time inside the piece, especially to watch sunset, sunrise or moonrise on a full moon night.  Naima is constantly changing as the sun and moon track across the sky or as weather and seasons change, and may be experienced in many different ways over time.

Long cast the glass for Naima herself in her studio in Taos, New Mexico using the slow and labor intensive process of lost wax casting. Because each mold is destroyed in the firing process, each of the hundreds of glass pieces inside Naima is unique, there are no multiples. She builds her Light Ships by hand, slowly. It took 3 years to build Naima.

Long uses glass and this labor intensive process to access light in her work. "Glass catches light in extraordinary ways. It acts a strong collector and amplifier of light, allowing light collection in my work even under low light conditions like twilight and moonlight."

Naima was first installed in the center of a dry lake bed in a remote area of the Mojave Desert as part of High Desert Test Sites 2013, an exhibition curated by Andrea Zittel, Dave Hickey, Libby Lumpkin, and Aurora Tang. The journey to reach Naima at this remote site is an important part of the experience of the work, an invitation to slow down and have an embodied experience of the work, land, and sky over time.

Photo Wendy Shuey
Photo Wendy Shuey
Photo Wendy Shuey
Photo Tina Larkin