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Raven and the Light

By Iole Alessandrini

The inspiration behind The Raven and the Light, a meditative gathering space in the SE plaza, is the Raven – a mythological figure celebrated among various cultures, including by the Greeks and Romans as a constellation known as Corvus. The Raven symbolizes creation and the underworld and brings light where before there was darkness. A shape-shifter and a trickster, Raven is the quintessential actor, “holding court” in the Green Room.

Standing or sitting amongst The Raven and the Light’s illuminated benches and paving, the art invites us to stand on the threshold between earth and sky, myth and reality, to play the drama as well as witness the spectacle of human life. Using a phone app, the Corvus constellation can also be mapped in the sky during the day and onto the ground at night. The virtual room with its interactive features unlocks universal myths and infinite spaces.

A 15’-square dark gray stone court flush with the adjacent paving, grounds the space. Angled lines of animated, color-changing light punctuate the stone. An arc of in-grade lights that begins in the Green Room stretches into the adjacent plaza area, representing the movement of the constellation and beckoning people in.

Iole Alessandrini

Iole Alessandrini

Arena Project: Green Room “The Raven and the Light”

Born and raised in Italy, Iole Alessandrini is an artist who has been living in Seattle since 1994. She received her diploma in Fine Arts from the First State School of Fine Arts in Rome and earned two Master’s degrees in Architecture: one from the University of La Sapienza in Rome and the other from the University of Washington in Seattle. It is the intersection between these two creative expressions – art and architecture – through which her work moves. Iole’s work combines the singularity of art with the social pragmatism of architecture. She designed her first Laser-Plane during a residency at BAM (2000) in collaboration with optical-engineer Ed Mannery. In 2007 she installed Greener featuring a laser-installation over 25,000 square feet of grass at SAM’s Olympic Sculpture Park. She is the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Grant (2002), Betty Bowen Award (2000) and Civita Institute Fellowship (1996).

Through manipulation of light, digital media and physical space, I design and build ephemeral, controlled environments that people enter rather than observe from a distance. Light is energy: waves and particles of infinitesimal dimensions that are made visible by boundaries. Architecture is movement: a powerful and meaningful symbol that redefines space and invents new functions. Physical space in its states of transformation solicits emotional feelings and brings back memories. Light, being a remote projection from a time of which we have no memory, challenges these feelings and moves our emotions, and ideas forward.


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