Alicia Eggert’s This Present Moment Neon Sculpture Exhibit
The Long Now Foundation & Fort Mason Center For Arts & Culture
The Long Now Foundation presents interdisciplinary artist Alicia Eggert‘s neon sculpture This Present Moment in an exhibit in partnership with Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture (FMCAC). The exhibit features large lenticular prints of Eggert’s work (on display at The Interval in Building A), behind-the-scenes videos of the sign’s journey to the ancient bristlecone pines on Long Now’s property in Nevada, and the artwork itself, sculpted in steel and neon.
Alicia Eggert’s art creates a framework to contemplate our human experience within the seemingly infinite universe. Her sculptures illuminate the passage of time, their physicality embodying the ephemeral through thought-provoking quotes rendered in neon, steel, and time itself. This Present Moment features an epigram written by The Long Now Foundation’s co-founder Stewart Brand in his book, The Clock of the Long Now: Time and Responsibility (2000).
The piece, a massive neon billboard, selectively illuminates Brand’s words: it begins with the full quote, shifts to Eggert’s edited version, and then blinks into nothingness before it returns once more to the start of the cycle, restarting the “moment” and bringing a deeper awareness of time and place to the viewer.
Before This Present Moment‘s installation at FMCAC, Alicia Eggert and the Long Now Foundation’s team collaborated to bring the artwork to Long Now’s site on Mount Washington in the Great Basin in the southwestern U.S. Mount Washington features a population of bristlecone pine trees (Pinus longaeva), which include among their number some of the longest-lived trees in the world. The team also documented the artwork’s journey and installation with videos.
In these videos, the image of the sign amongst ancient trees serves as a provocation towards long-term thinking. In the words of a Forbes Daily Dozen article written by Long Now Research Fellow Jonathon Keats, the juxtaposition of ancient landscape and neon sign “establishes a literal relationship between the present moment and the long term, and physically models the essential simultaneity of multiple time scales.”
About The Artist
Alicia Eggert’s work gives material form to language and time, powerful but invisible forces that shape our perception of reality. Her creative practice is motivated by an existential pursuit to understand the linear and finite nature of human life within a seemingly infinite universe. Drawing from physics and philosophy, Eggert’s sculptures often co-opt the styles and structures of commercial signage to communicate messages that inspire reflection and wonder. Her work makes contemplating empathy on grand temporal scales feel as intuitive as looking at a clock to check the time.
Eggert’s artworks have been installed on building rooftops in Russia, on bridges in Amsterdam, and on uninhabited islands in Maine, beckoning viewers to ponder their places in the world and the roles they play in it. Eggert is an Associate Professor of Studio Art at the University of North Texas; her work has been exhibited internationally, and is in the collection of the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
About Long Now
The Long Now Foundation is a nonprofit established in 1996 to foster long-term thinking. The organization works to encourage imagination at the timescale of civilization — the next and last 10,000 years — a time span the foundation calls the long now. Long Now hopes to provide a counterpoint to today’s accelerating culture and help make long-term thinking more common.
The exhibit is open daily from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. in FMCAC’s Building B, first floor, until mid-April 2023. In conjunction with the exhibit, Alicia Eggert’s artist talk from November 3, 2022 is on Long Now’s YouTube Channel.