Tyler Jackson, Sentinel, 2022
Stainless steel, radiata pine, charred using the shou-sugi ban techique, LED lighting, acrylic glass, Raspberry Pi mini computer. 5000 x 600mm.
The natural form of the monolith belies one of the more enduring yet transmutable mythologies of our culture. Originally used to describe large, naturally occurring stone blocks, the term was later applied to similar forms erected for religious and ritual purposes by ancient worshippers and finally became synonymous with extra-terrestrial life thanks to science-fiction texts like Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’.
This history makes the monolith a bridge between geology, cosmology, and technology, converging in Wellington-based artist Tyler Jackson’s interpretation of the form.
A charred timber cladding contrasts with LED lights inset into the sculpture’s body. These change colour according to an internal computer programme and sensors which detect nearby movements and changes in weather systems, giving the pillar unnerving omniscience over its surroundings.
Whether organic, archaeological, or altogether alien, Jackson’s monolith, in the form’s tradition, is profoundly mysterious, carrying the promise, both daunting and liberating, of an as-of-yet unknown elsewhere.