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Penn Station

Maya Lin

Eclipsed Time, 1994

Sand-blasted glass, aluminum, stainless steel, and fiber-optic sculpture in ceiling at Seventh Avenue end of station

In Eclipsed Time Maya Lin tries to get commuters to think differently about time and trains. "I'm asking for a one-on-one relationship between the viewer and the work," the artist says. The large metal sculpture, installed overhead in the Long Island Rail Road's main concourse at Penn Station, combines industrial craftsmanship with contemporary technology to tell time. "When people think about clocks they usually envision hands or digital numbers," explains Lin. "Time is measured mathematically and specifically. I wanted to reflect time naturally and chose to use the concept of an eclipse." To create this effect, a solid disk hangs between the light source and a stationary glass disk. Light shines through the glass disk, illuminating the rotunda below. The solid disk travels from east to west and back. An eclipse is created at midnight, as the two disks are aligned and only a penumbra of light shines around the aligned circles. The cycle is repeated daily.

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