March 31, 2006:
The Not A Cornfield project team has handed the keys to the Cornfield site back to State Parks and moved across the street into our new offices at 1745 Spring St.
Contact State Parks for public access and information about tours and open hours.


Most recent image from webcam.

Watch short films about the project


For Group and school tours, please call Carmelo Alvarez at (323) 226-1158
This is a Flickr badge showing photos in a set called The Blue Phase. Make your own badge here.

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THE BLUE PHASE (beginning December 3, 2005)

From brown to green to gold to blue: having cleared the way and laid the infrastructure for the dreams of others to be actualized, the art project Not A Cornfield will end. The seeds for this state park as a space full of life will have been germinated.

“Artists need to create on the same scale that society has the capacity to destroy.” Lauren Bon, 2005





A rendering of the field lit by the blue beacon towers. See more photos of the Blue Phase.
- Not A Cornfield image by Steve Rowell.

At 4pm on Saturday December 3, 2005 a Kyudo archer will fire an arrow on the Not A Cornfield site, signaling the end of the project's Gold Phase, ushering in the final Blue Phase, and marking the beginning of a weekend of celebration, dancing and picnic-ing at the Not A Cornfield site. In addition a variety of activities will take place in the open-air ‘galleries’ that have grown in the field of corn as the crop has been harvested. Functioning as cultural spaces, each gallery will be hosted by a community member and events through the weekend will consequently range from film screenings and discussion forums to craft making, installations and a gathering of the Red Nation Runners on Sunday December 4th.

Kyudo – traditional Japanese archery – is a mobile form of the meditation zazen, and the initial firing of the arrow speaks to both the concept and the intentions of the Blue Phase. For this project has taken aim at revivifying a parcel of land at the historic center of our city and, having hit its target, it now opens up a space in which to consider the wider ramifications of our responsibilities and relationship to the earth.

The color blue is traditionally symbolic of a dream-like state of thoughtfulness and of physical and spiritual balance, purity, and faithful union. Biochemistry explains that these associations are the result of brain chemistry. For the sight of blue causes the brain to secrete eleven tranquilizing neurotransmitters. Color psychology on the other hand explains that blue, being the only color that is both concentric or inward-looking and passively subject to external action, simultaneously stimulates consciousness of individuality and a sense of union with some greater entity.

Whatever the source of its affect, more than any other color in the spectrum blue both symbolizes and fosters that state of wonder and meditative wondering which must be a prerequisite for any actual change. For it is only after something has first been imagined that it can then be brought into being.

During the Blue Phase the harvested corn will be recycled and, in January 2006, the field will be tilled and sown with a mixed ground cover crop to further re-mediate the soil. The hosted open-air gallery activities will continue every Sunday afternoon through to the Winter Solstice on December 21, 2005 and, after a brief period of hush, the Friday Night@Not A Cornfield series of salons and open mic/open screen evenings will start up again in January 2006. Functioning once again to bring people together to address some of the many questions that the project raises, these evenings will engage such topics as the future of this specific site and the generation of a broader healthful balance between we humans and our social, cultural and natural environments.

From the conceptual proposal for the lighting aspect of the blue phase: "Plan for fifty twenty foot tall beacon towers to be placed according to the position of the winter constellations as they will be over the cornfield during the winter solstice. Grid is at 20' spacing for aid in positioning the beacons. Beacons are connected by narrow pathways through the cornrows that trace the constellations' formations. "
- Not A Cornfield blue phase constellation map plan by Jenna Didier of Fountainhead Design and Engineering.


A constellation of lights that populates the field consists of emblematic stalks that house blue lights. These lights are controlled by a computer in the center of the field that responds to changing conditions around the field, trains passing by, temperature changes, rain, etc.

At the heart of the system is a Mac Mini that is tied into an X10 communications network. The computer is also tied into the internet via a wireless connection that covers over half a mile. At the transmission end
Radiolabs PA24-18, 19 dB antenna and at the receiving end is a Quickertek XVR Pro, 27 dB transceiver. Using the connection to the internet the system can respond to outside information such as emailed commands or rss feeds typically used for blogging. See more photos of the Blue Phase.

Blue lighting on the Spring Street bridge and surrounding buildings frames the project site.
- Not A Cornfield photo by Scott Froschauer.

Blue lighting on a pair of project tractors elevates them from farm machinery to icons in context with the cornfield and skyline of downtown Los Angeles as backdrop.
- Not A Cornfield photo by Steve Rowell.


Last year the earth in which this corn now grows was gray. A century of industrial use, coupled with the jacketing of the LA River in concrete, had left the soil of a once-fertile flood plain polluted, desiccated, and strewn with trash. While the site, commonly known as the Cornfield, had been designated the Los Angeles State Historic Park in 2001, the process of creating it as a park was lengthy and challenging, and it seemed likely that the earth would remain gray and lifeless for at least the immediate future.

Over the course of the past six months the Not A Cornfield project has caused this 32-acre plot to be cleaned, leveled, augmented by 1,500 truckloads of good dirt, irrigated, powered with electricity, and planted with corn - a crop that further leaches pollutants from the ground. Today no longer gray, the earth is a rich brown and the lush green stalks it hosts are bearing a golden harvest. From gray to brown to green to gold, Not A Cornfield has reclaimed an arid plot of land for fertility and public use.

More than a practical intervention intended to transform the soil however, the project also opens up a space for contemplation and possibility. Seeded by the artist’s dream in which this area she has known from childhood was abundant with corn and awash in blue light, Not A Cornfield will conclude as it began, in the blue of dreams. For once harvested the field will be lit by blue light, the color symbolic of reverie, yearning, faithfulness and distance.

From brown to green to gold to blue: having cleared the way and laid the infrastructure for the dreams of others to be actualized, the art project Not A Cornfield will end. The seeds for this state park as a space full of life will have been germinated.

“Artists need to create on the same scale that society has the capacity to destroy.” Lauren Bon, 2005


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