When I was a kid, my father often brought me to hike around Fort Point, where the Golden Gate Bridge joins with San Francisco. Standing atop the brick parapets as he held me steady, buffeted by gale-force winds coming in through the strait of the Golden Gate, I felt as if I could just about reach up and touch the bridge. Looking out to sea, I spied marine birds like shearwaters and petrels, kittiwakes, gulls, terns, and pelicans; as well as harbor porpoises leaping through the waves.
Coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge, a great installation has gone up at the fort: International Orange (a tribute to the singular paint color of the bridge; only on view thru 10/28/12), a wonderful mix of art, science, and landscape. In “One Cubic Foot,” photographer David Littschwager surveys the multifarious organisms living directly underneath the span, capturing them in twelve-inch cubes. Bill Fontana creates a soundscape using sensors installed on the bridge and at the fort. Doug Hall projects monumental videos taken of the massive container ships passing below the bridge. These and other artists combine to create a particular alchemy, inducing in the visitor a fantastic sense of melancholia, vertigo, and exhilaration, in this unique nexus of culture, history, and nature.