BC Hydro Dal Grauer Substation, Vancouver
Emmy Lee Wall, Capture Photography Festival
April 1, 2023 – March 1, 2024
Steven Beckly’s work uses light, the human body, and material manipulation to explore what he calls the “continuum of intimacy” – whether with ourselves, others, or the world around us. Phantom Eye, Beckly’s site-specific installation for the façade of the Dal Grauer Substation, was inspired by news images documenting the so-called “eye of fire” that, according to petroleum company Pemex, resulted when lightning struck gas leaking from an underwater pipeline in the Gulf of Mexico in 2021. Beckly was awestruck by this environmental disaster and the ensuing viral images that seemed to document the impossible: fire burning on water.
In translating the idea of an “eye of fire” into an artwork, Beckly layered an image of an eye and a NASA image of Phantom Galaxy M74, merging the human with the cosmic and suggesting our inextricable relationship with the natural world that surrounds us. In depicting a human eye at this monumental scale, Beckly also invites a meditation on the possibility that art presents, when looking carefully and deeply, to experience an awakening.
Capture Photography Festival annually commissions artists to create new site-specific works to be installed on the Dal Grauer Substation’s façade. Drawing on the building itself, these projects temporarily emphasize the substation in the streetscape and reassert it as an architectural icon.