This West Texas Sculpture Comes To Life At The Full Moon

Inspired by Stonehenge in England, the Marfa stone circle uses solar energy to convert electricity into light and sound that activates on the night of a full moon.

By Casey CheekJune 6, 2018 11:42 am

The next full moon falls on June 27. In the west Texas desert near Marfa – if you are in the high desert grasslands just east of town – you may spot an unlikely arrangement of large black or granite stones like a Texas Stonehenge. As the sun sets on that day, that megalith will begin to come to life.

Haroon Mirza is the artist who created the unusual stone circle in the Texas desert. He says he specializes in “solar symphonies” – sculptures made out of solar panels and LED lighting that creates the sound of electricity.

“The stone circle is really an elaborate one of these works – a really elaborate version of a solar symphony work,” he says, “It’s obviously in the landscape and it’s an outdoor thing…It’s stone, so it could exist for thousands of years, like other stone monuments.”

Mirza says his stone circle is inspired by the Nine Ladies Stone Circle in Derbyshire, England. His circle utilizes eight stones. The majority of the sunlight is absorbed by the largest stone – the Mother Stone.

When he visited Texas five years ago, he remembers being surprised by the lack of solar panels in Marfa and west Texas, generally.

“When we started working on this project, this company, Freedom Solar, got on board with it,” he says, “Freedom started by sponsoring the project, and then they ended up setting up shop and bringing solar to west Texas.”

During the course of the month, Mirza says the sculpture stores the energy it captures from the Mother Stone. The sculpture then disperses the stored energy in the form of light and sounds during the full moon – called an activation.

“People can go there on the full moon and see it activate,” he says, “You can go there during the day and visit the site. You can see these sort of crystal forms in the faces of the stones – which in the day look like quartz formations.”

Mirza says the sculpture creates buzzing sounds during an activation, followed by glowing light. The sounds and light become more intense as time passes.

“It’s almost like very tribal sounds – you’ve got eight speakers in a circle and they each make a sound,” he says, “It’s almost like people sitting in a circle playing instruments.”

Mirza hopes visitors feel the different forms of energy from the stone circle during the full moon on June 27.

“I think you can experience that in one shape or another – when you go there I think that you feel the energy,” he says, “Whether you feel that as a physical thing or a spiritual thing or a metaphysical thing – I think it’s different for everyone. But I think that you do feel it.”

Written by Amber Chavez.