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Comments & Quotations -

Artist’s Initial Comments – Tracking Dawn.

-All forecast information is from Environment Canada’s web site, based on data from the Pearson International Airport weather station as per the 20:00 hours update each night.

 -All photographs were taken within 10 minutes of the official time of sunrise localized to Georgetown, ON.

 -Dawn on clear sunny days is not particularly interesting. There is no colour show in the sky and the only possible photograph is of the ‘hot spot’ as the sun becomes visible.

 -The best mornings have cloud cover with a clear space on the horizon to allow colour to flood the undersides of the clouds; are rainy with wonderful reflections on the pavement; are foggy and wrap all your senses in softness or are very cold with vehicle exhaust turning golden and snow shining blue. 

(See also Interaction Comments at the bottom of this page.)                                                                                                                                              

                                                            Marion Manning.



You went out there for the dawn.
You pointed your metal box and captured, flatly, the light of the rising sun on sheets of paper.
Your shutter clicked in for me my own intermittent memories.
I live in rectangular boxes now, coffined from that cold light and that raw air.
When did I last grope my way home along a pitch dark lane, blind feet feeling their way, blind hands warding off the unseen.
When last lie on my back in a field and count the stars, when roll under the waterfall of sound as bird voices shout the start of day.
My substitute for dawn these days is a newspaper under an electric bulb, or a talking head in another box, maybe an astronaut who's seen it from a long way off.
Your camera has gestured to that cosmic machine that brings us the light.
Tim Horton's and a gas station became puny sundials in a temporary Ontario Stonehenge.
Your photos placed a faint grid on planetary motion as humans counted their magic tally of 2000.

The light came again, again, again, and again.
So, thank you.

                                                            Gerta Moray,
Associate Professor of Art History
University of Guelph.


“Dawn is a daily reminder of the eternal cycle of cosmic life, of which we are an inseparable part. A day arrives and departs for our particular spot on the earth as it is exposed to the sun, and then recedes into darkness. Each of us is a microcosm of the earth in its orbit, and each day is like the cycle of a lifetime. We awaken with the sun’s appearance and live through the day under its light, finally exhausting ourselves at nightfall, just as the sun sets and the earth goes dark. After resting through the night, we can rise again refreshed when the sun reappears to illuminate another day.

The Buddhist view of life and death is the same. Life is energy, and we know from Einstein that energy cannot be created or destroyed. This one scientific statement is a verification of the eternity of life. All life forms, including the planets and stars, experience birth, growth, aging and death, followed by rebirth, and so the cycle goes on, as it has from the eternal past into the eternal future.

Dawn, like birth, is a new beginning, a fresh start – the perfect opportunity. Discovering its true worth comes, not so much from the reassurance that it will come again tomorrow, but from the realization that everything is possible from this moment on.”                                                                  

                                                            Tony Meers, Vice Chairperson,
Soka Gakkai International Association of
                                                            Canada (SGI


“We design elaborate systems to measure and record time, but then, like children who love to scare each other by telling ghost stories in the dark, we invent mythologies that invest our time-counting-devices with seemingly divine apocalyptic visions of the end of the world. Apparently, the end of the millennium has the power to make some of us tremble. But whatever will befall humanity in the next century, no other force will have brought it about but we ourselves. In short, we can only blame ourselves if we screw up.”  

                                                            John Sommer, Gallery owner.


When we speak of dawn it is most often in the context of Da'an, an alien character on the television program ‘Earth The Final Conflict’. We are fascinated with Da'an and follow the performance of the character with great interest, although we have no time for any of the other characters or the plot line of the show.

 Aside from fans of Da'an, there is the end of a recitation from the short story, ‘Ivy Day in the Committee Room’, by James Joyce, that comes to mind on the idea of dawn:

'They had their way: they laid him low.
But Erin, list, his spirit may
Rise, like the Phoenix from the flames,
When breaks the dawning of the day,

The day that brings us Freedom's reign.
And on that day may Erin well
Pledge in the cup she lifts to Joy
One grief--the memory of Parnell. '

                                                            Fastwürms, Artists.


On dawn: “A false promise of perpetuity.”  

                                                            Alex Ramsay, Psychologist.


I’ve always thought of dawn as the most mystical time of the day. ‘Twixt light and dark, it’s a time of transition. I remember while at university (Queen’s in Kingston) myself and my friends would often stay up all night during the summer months. As morning approached we’d invariably head to the waterfront, sit on the hill by the Murney Tower and watch the sun come up over the water. It felt as though the passage of time was suspended, and that we’d be able to sit there forever, and that nothing would ever change. As the sky lightened dozens of bats would fly through the air, above our heads, returning to the Tower. That was our signal to go home and to return to work, studies or whatever our "regular" life was at that time. Whatever realities and responsibilities we had forgotten during the night, came back to us with the advent of the dawn.”

                                                            Virginia MacDonnell,
Gallery owner and curator.


“By the Dawn;
By the ten nights;
By the Even;
And Odd (contrasted);
And by the Night
When it passeth away;
Is there (not) in these
An adjuration (or evidence)
For those who understand?”

"The glory and mystery of the Break of Day. It just succeeds the deepest dark of the Night. In respect both of beauty and terror, of hope and inspiration, of suddenness and continuing increase of light and joy, this 'holy time' of night might well stand as the type of spiritual awakening from darkness to Faith, from Death to resurrection." 

English Translation Of The Meanings And Commentary
The King Fahd Complex For Printing Of The Holy Qur-An,
Verse Number 1, Chapter 89 (Al-Fajr), The Holy Qur-An                                                       
                                   Al Madenah Al Mounawarah Saudi Arabia 1413 H (1993)

                                                            Ayman Al-Taher, Muslim Chaplain
                                                            Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto


“Once, this explosion was fired,
To reveal what God most desired.
Made & Matched,
Cellularly  patched,
Workable, co-created, admired.”

                                                            Michael Marshall, Anglican Chaplain,
Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto


  "Dawn may be likened unto a politician. She emerges each day promising a new beginning - that she will crown my struggles with success - that the woes of yesterday will dissolve in her radiance. But alas, it is a promise more honoured in the breach than in fulfillment."

                                                            Hugh Mackenzie, Artist


  "Dawn is possibility; without possibility there is only darkness and thuggery. And thuggery is a chronic uniquely human sickness. 

Millennium? To a starving baby Millennium is an empty word. To a cedar tree Millennium may as well be ice cream. Humans quantify everything yet we piss where we drink in the Millennium."

                                                            Mendelson Joe, Artist
                                                            Musician, Songwriter, Author


   "This year, the year 2,000 in the Christian calendar, is 5760 in the Hebrew calendar, 1992 in Ethiopia and Heise 12, the year of the dragon in Japan."

                                                            Jane Buyers, Artist
                                                            Professor of Fine Art, University of Waterloo


    "In spite of our urban and artificial environment and of the unusual hours that have become part of so many lives, people on the whole remain sensitive to that most basic of nature's cycles the daily rhythm of darkness and light, of night and day.

    The dawn means a new beginning; it suggests hope and promise.  How we experience it is not always the same; it varies with our outer and inner weather and with the good or bad things we suspect the day will bring. There is, however, always at least a touch of  hope or we wouldn't have the courage to get out of bed and begin again.

    All this is intensified when the dawn marks a new year, a new century, a new millennium. The longer cycles and patterns heighten consciousness, invite reflection, raise questions about the ground of our hope."

                                                            Father Dan Donovan,
                                                            Catholic Priest and Art Connoiseur


"Millennia are rare but dawns are much more important."

                                                            Tony Urquhart, Artist.


"Dawn opens, inspires and infuses the day as dusk patiently waits escorting in the night as sleep enshrouds our eyes. Inhaling, exhaling."

                                                            Ted Fullerton, Artist,
                                                            Chair of Fine Art, Georgian College.


"The millennium celebration prompted tour and travel operators to inflate prices astronomically to create a climate of excitement. As the year 2000 approaches the hype is much lower than estimated with hotel and air packages at less than capacity. Prices are being slashed and party organizers are up in arms as many of us decide to stay home with family and friends. Y2K may just be another day. The sun will rise and set as it has for millenniums."

                                                            Nancy Campbell, Curator.


"First there is the word. Then, there is this world – the one we live in. The same as the world and yet not the same. The real is the imagined. As are these pictures, this writing. At present your attention (the awareness cast by your world) throws a light upon this, reveals both this and yourself. The darkness broken open by this word reveals a world. As always.

In the beginning was the word and the darkness could not overcome it. There is always dawn. A word, say the word, "Millennium", describes a world – imagined and real. An end and a beginning contained in a word. The word is a dawn. "Millennium"/dawn. Everything still to be said, shown, almost."

                                                            Monty Williams, Jesuit Priest.


"At the dawn of a new millennium, we can look back with some degree of satisfaction at our success in weather forecasting, thanks to technological advances.
We can precisely calculate sunrise and sunset, but we can only sometimes be precise on what will occur meteorologically, where, when and with what intensity.
Perhaps in the coming years we will advance to the precision for which we all yearn, to be exactly right, for all users, at all times.
                Oh Yeah?"
                                                            Harold Hosein, Meteorologist
                                                            CFRB, City TV.


"As our calendar transects its second millennium, recall that our planet has celebrated 4.5 million of these events.  Imagine a succession of visual images documenting this passage through deep time. Here in Ontario this record would capture glistening ice fields, swirling seas, and barren rockscapes.  In a sense, the rhythmic seasonality of modern Ontario, so evident in this collage, represents a fractal of millennia past."

                                                            Paul D. N. Hebert, Professor and
                                                            Chair, Department of Zoology,
                                                            University of Guelph



    "The time when men of reason go to bed."
    Ambrose Bierce; The Devil’s Dictionary

                                                            Tony Scherman, Artist.


“My wife is crazy. Don’t we all wish we were!” 

                                                            Jim Manning, Husband of the artist.


Tracking Dawn - Interaction comments:

People assumed that I was photographing people and wanted to know why. Very early in the project, one of the local police officers stopped to talk to me about what I was doing. Some staff members at Tim Horton’s thought I was casing the place (at dawn, each day??).

I was asked if I could be a ‘placement’ for someone’s niece who was a photography student.

A dump truck driver stopped and had a long chat about technical details of photographing the sun – he was taking sunset pictures.

I received a lecture from one man who, after asking what I was doing, felt that I was “memorializing and glorifying the ugliness in modern society” by choosing a ubiquitous strip mall as a location.

I have had to ask a couple to please move away from in front of the cameras so that I could take the shots. They were really interested but were somewhat disgruntled by being asked to move and to wait 60 seconds until I had caught the sun.

One early summer day, I was ‘mooned’ by a young man in a car full of other young men, seemingly up early for a trip to the cottage. (I didn’t get his picture.)

In general, the people who stopped to talk were not commuters (who don’t have the time) but sit-down regulars at Tim Horton’s or other passers-by. They walked dogs, rode bicycles, drove pick-up trucks etcetera. The interactions seemed to come about 25 minutes or so apart in dawn timing – presumably enough time to move into the next group of clients at the coffee shop.

Since most people have a regimen or timetable, I passed through the time-frame of their morning activities twice as the time of dawn got later and then earlier again. A somewhat stooped lady who plodded past on her way to pick up a Globe and Mail at the Petro-Can station, appeared twice in the photographs in one week in late summer and once again in the spring when the sun was rising at about 6:30.

A Neilson truck appears in several of the photographs. The driver initially parked on the road (in a No Stopping zone) and went across, got a coffee and quickly returned to drive away. By the end of the project, he went across to Tim Horton’s, got his coffee and he and one of the counter girls from Tim’s came outside and sat on the window ledge of the next store to chat and enjoy their coffee. They then kissed good-bye and he returned to drive away.

These interactions provided me with a strange sense of being from another time and dropping voyeuristically in and out of the pattern of other people’s lives. In fact I was the observer and the observed.

                              Marion Manning.


An addendum on the accuracy of weather forecasting:

The forecast was accurate 61% of the time, when one does not consider minor temperature variations. The forecast was absolutely accurate on 14.6% of the days in this year.

The forecast was mostly right another 22% of the days; partly right 12.6%; and way off 4.4% of the time.

The forecast high temperature was out by more than 2°C. 28.3% of the time – 16.8% of the days were warmer, 11.5% colder.

The forecast high was out by more than 5°C. 5.5% of the time, evenly divided between hotter and colder.

When precipitation was definitively forecast (as opposed to ‘chance of’), we did get precipitation 75.7% of the time. The forecast precipitation didn’t happen 24.3% of the time. We got precipitation on 22 days - 6% - of the days in the year when none was forecast at all.


Questions or comments? Please email marion@browniris.com