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Palo Alto Public Art

Encounter Palo Alto California Marjan Laaper
The work: “Encounter” shows a larger than life video projection of a Rock eagle-owl that sits on a branch isolated between two walls of the downtown alley at 536 Emerson Street.Encounter Palo Alto california Marjan LaaperThe video is projected vertically on to a “see-through” screen so that the animal can be seen from both sides of the Alley. With his back towards the spectator, you can see the feathers of his back that forms a camouflage version of a face.
When the owl turns, you can see his very bright orange eyes that look at the passengers and the surrounding. This owl normally lives in hilly and rocky scrub forests, within the mainland of the Indian Subcontinent, now is situated in the downtown area of Palo Alto between underutilized spaces, parking-lots and blank walls.The video-projection is shot from a one-angle point of view, so that the bird almost becomes a statue or ornament between the walls of this downtown alley.
The natural beauty of the bird and his presence in this urban area gives the work a magical atmosphere. The work connects “the natural” and the man-made surrounding into one scene. The bird engages with the surrounding and the visitors that walk in the area.

Encounter California Palo Alto Marjan Laaper
The work temporarily reframes the city by showing this “natural phenomena” in dialogue with the urban public space by implementing this large Owl.

The title of the work: “Encounter” refers to a quote from Dr. Stephan Harding, where he describes a kind of mystical experience while encounting with another being. He uses the term Encounter for an experience that goes beyond only intellectual ways of experiencing another being. He describes a kind of mystical experience. It is a poetic encounter. The owl becomes a totemic animal that symbolizes the presence of other non-human beings that are present in this world.

Encounter Palo Alto California Marjan Laaper

Location of the video Installation: Bell’s Books/ Mac’s Smoke Shop Alley , 536 Emerson Street, Palo Alto, CA, USA