Growing up in Ireland, I was always intrigued by the Fastnet Lighthouse. From its first iteration in 1854, to its current structure completed in 1904, it's witnessed a significant part of modern history – two world wars and the Irish Civil War. Satellite feeds and meteorology have reaffirmed the Fastnet as an essential beacon and eye upon the fierce North Atlantic Ocean. In 1979, 18 people died in the the Fastnet Race from Plymouth, England. In 1985, the lighthouse was struck by a rogue wave measuring 157ft (48m) in height.
I purchased a one way container in the Fall of 2015 from the Port of Elizabeth in NJ. I installed a skylight to equalize the light in the container, while minimizing any intrusions on the side. The shipping container is a unibody structure so we welded on a steel frame prior to the skylight incision. I built a wooden skylight unit to accommodate the various mechanicals – ventilation, a wood stove (later replaced by gravity fed pellet) and most recently a solar electric system.
The project straddles various environmental and capitalist conundrums. The container has become a symbol of streamlined economic globalization and benign multi-national corporate expansion. In abstraction, stacked high on a ship, it's a spreadsheet – a ledger of goods and services. We are left with something that is paradoxically both expansive and restrictive depending on how (and where) it is viewed. To paraphrase Christy Moore, Fastnet is a consolation gift from the "captains of industry".
Logistics of Project to Date: Oct 2016
Ali Pechman, Here Magazine [January 2018]