Lookout/Outlook, features an installation influenced by a North American cultural icon, the fire lookout tower. These towers, an integral part of natural resource management and ecology in the Northwest for a century, are now an anachronism. Lookout/Outlook documents the legacy of fire in the past 100 years of the western landscape. The installation communicates a historical view of a lookout tower – from a 360-degree perspective – bringing the viewer into the landscape of our geographical and ecological history.

The work explores the concepts of our relationships with geography through time as well as attempting to depict the beauty of the ever-changing landscape. The painted tyvek band that holds the twenty-eight windows are screen-printed with low resolution filigree images of medieval stonewalls from Southern France, where an earlier panopticum with the hilltop chateau of the Marques de Sade is located. The desire to see a larger view includes surveillance and power and a need to contemplate the larger picture.

Summer storms congregate on high-altitude mountaintops where lookout towers are located. Weather patterns create dramatic light shows laced with lightning strikes. Within the tower, twenty-four-hour cycles become indistinguishable, time seems suspended.

Inside a space of waking and reading, loving and sleeping, as storms rage and dance past the windows, we dream. The windows become projections for fire—and a forecast for change.

Consulting architect, Thia Bankey of Cynthia Bankey Architect, Inc.