The City of Moscow is celebrating the one-year summer solstice anniversary of Helio-Terra, the public art piece located at the south couplet of Highways 8 and 95 in Moscow, Idaho. Helio-Terra is an original piece of artwork by artist Robert M Horner commissioned for the City of Moscow, Idaho. It was constructed in partnership with Bly Windstorm of Earthdwell LTD. Helio-Terra is a rammed earth construct that depicts the solar rhythms specific to Moscow, Idaho. This Friday, June 21, during the sunrise on the summer solstice, Helio-Terra will depict the start of summer through a display of light and shadow that shows the relation between the cycle of the sun and harvest.
The installation highlights the furthest reaches of the sun along the horizon and depicts solar-rhythmic seasonal crests that have served as cyclic anchors for thousands of years highlighting the solar rhythms of the summer solstice as well as the vernal and autumnal equinoxes and the winter solstice. The vinyl wrapped display on the utility box at the site depicts those rhythms in a diagram showing the relation of the piece to the sun.
The piece is placed along the axis of the park and serves as a visual anchor and gateway into Moscow, Idaho. The artwork is a mass of locally quarried earth that is compacted into a form resembling a seed. The geometry of artwork is a gesture toward the agricultural heritage of Moscow, as well as the grain towers that have flanked the site. The seed is a representation of the concentration of nutrient that gives forth the energy necessary to yield future sustenance, and thus serves as a metaphor for community growth and prosperity.
Helio-Terra is compacted in approximately 5-inch lifts of an earth mix containing varying degrees of iron oxide. The varying color lifts of earth result in a dramatic and dynamic effect that mirrors that of the rolling hills of the Palouse. Like the landscape of the region, the artwork becomes a canvas for shifting light and color as the sun traverses the sky. The artwork has concave cavities varying in degree of aperture that correspond to solar orientation. These apertures shift between shadow and radiance amidst the movement of the sun which will be highlighted on Friday, June 21 during the summer solstice.