Stichting Barstow has a passion for the spectacular, for artworks that don’t find themselves in the confines of white walled spaces but in the public space for all to admire their compelling presence. That art made by Stichting Barstow immerses the audience in a world where other laws apply: the laws of spectacle.
Take the moon on the roof. We all know that Moonburn is a large balloon painted with glow-in-the-dark paint. Although considerably smaller than the real moon – 6 meters in diameter versus 3,475 kilometers – the balloon appears larger than the moon, and its presence really shakes things up. The skyline of Amsterdam is different than usual and something special has been added: spectacle.
The nice thing about ‘simple’ additions like these, or actual imitations of natural phenomena, is that we are able to better appreciate the originals. In 2003, Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson, whose body of work consists mostly of imitating various natural phenomena such as rainbows, waterfalls and fog, created a shining sun in the large Turbrine Hall of London’s Tate Modern.
For Stichting Barstow, it wasn’t enough just to imitate the moon. They had to add something, something to connect the moon to the city. Better yet, connect it with the craziness of the city, the lights, the crowds. There’s a reason why the title of the work is Moonburn; in the same way that the sun can have an affect on our behavior, so does the moon. Some people actually go a little crazy. Lunatism, although never scientifically proven, is a condition that describes sleep-walking and mood swings during the presence of a full moon.