They paved paradise, part two

(Click on a photo to enlarge and to see a slideshow) Yesterday I posted some photos of the Court of Pacifica, viewed from a northern perspective looking south, as well as photos of the same view today–pretty depressing, really. Without getting too pretentious (after all I have a masters degree in English lit and studied a lot of Latin in college), I can’t help but be reminded of a line from Ovid’s Heroides–“Iam seges est ubi Troia fuit”–“there are fields where Troy once stood.” In other words–look what happened to our beautiful magic city–felled by a Navy!

Today’s photos show the northward view, looking towards the fountain that stood at the center of the Court of Pacifica–the Fountain of Western Waters; the “Pacific Unity” sculptures that surrounded the fountain, and the eighty-foot statue of Pacifica, goddess of Pacific Unity, that stood at the head of the court. The 2014 photos attempt to use the same angles and distances in the 1989 photos.

Behind Pacifica was a curtain of stars that moved from left to right, powered by a motor, making high followed by low sounds. The “Prayer Curtain” in this Court of Pacifica was to help carry fairgoers’ prayers for peace up to heaven. The wall behind Pacifica, at least thirty feet higher than the 100-foot wall that that enclosed the western perimeter of the fairgrounds as well as the Court of Pacifica, formed a kind of altarpiece behind the goddess.

Like all of the thematic architecture at the GGIE, the Court of Pacifica was brilliantly lit with concealed, indirect light; the walls and other surfaces were designed so that lights could be hidden in recesses or below the eye level of visitors so that buildings appeared to glow from within. The wall–altarpiece–behind Pacifica changed colors (as you can see), and the fountain also changed colors. In the words of Juliet James, author of The Meaning of the Courts of the Golden Gate International Exposition,

Don’t fail to see this fountain at night with the water slipping over emerald green. Atop, an ever-changing riot of color–mostly lambent blue and fire red–fire consuming its own beauty–lavender pink with gold and silver–again all blue with a tumultuous bubbling of changing lights–sometimes singing with soprano voice, often with contralto notes, with the voice of the curtain dominating. This is a symphonic musical poem–a theme with variations. When you see the prayer curtain a fall of burning red sparkle–of deep sapphire blue–of gold–of gold, silver and lavender–of blue consumed by sparkling fire–of royal purple . . . [have you had enough of Juliet? there’s just a bit more]–as the chief subject of your theme, the secondary subject being played in color by the top of the fountain, the bass notes of emerald green sustained by your color organ, you have heard a rarely magnificent Color-Music Composition.

Later I have some video I can post of the changing colors in the court.

To be continued: next–a look at the court of Pacifica in 1989.





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