Once gleaming, its copper portal has started to oxidize and its silver peak has faded. But at 12 feet tall, weighing in at about 500 pounds, it stands anchored on a Weaver Street corner lawn. The padlock on the handle adds to its allure. Those with a xenoarchaeological bent might do a double-take. But despite its cylindrical shape and looming size, this is no spacecraft or playground as young'uns might eagerly yearn. This interactive art installation is a metal spinning camera obscura -- one of photography's ancestors. Created by Josh Lev in 2011, "new Whirld" is intended to illustrate a person's environment from unexplored views, encouraging people to adopt new perspectives.
Folks enter the flue-shaped piece, close the door and behold a duplicate image of the outside world displayed on the inside wall of the steel structure. This occurs when sunlight enters the lens projecting a mirrored image inside the unlit room. Though reversed and upside down, the lens captures a clear image through the small hole, in both original proportion and hues. To heighten its effect, the interactive piece spins enabling folks to experience a 360-degree panoramic view of its surroundings.
Although unopened for hands-on use, it's on display in Carrboro. Detailed "how to use" instructions in a framed sign accompany the art installation.
(photographs taken on the corner of Weaver and Center streets in Carrboro)