Light Isle, 2017. 16mm film, 4:02 minutes.
Light Isle is a collection of some of the remaining Bay Area Neon Signs that dot the landscapes I frequent. In a time where LCD and fluorescent lights have replaced a method for making lighted signs, the rare surviving neon signs stand apart from modern lighted signs in their material characteristics and the history they connote. I suggest the notion of neon as a medium by emphasizing its simplicity, vibrancy, and famous luminescence. Light Isle questions that if neon’s distinct characteristics allow its recognition as a distinct medium, then do other formats of visual and audio mediums prominently suggest their unique differences? I argue that the respective defining characteristics of celluloid film and digital video are critical formal elements of each and not equivalent. Formats of media have followed a trend of synthesis and convergence instead of emphasizing individual strengths. Neon in Light Isle serves to defend its presence in the Bay Area and globally, as a unique treasure of our streets.