Tatsuo Miyajima
Counter Line, 1997

This room-size installation was created expressly for SFMOMA’s galleries. Miyajima placed 224 LEDs (light-emitting diodes) in a straight line. Silent, glowing red, and continually increasing, the LEDs transcend their traditional function as indicators of information to become a pictorial representation of the existence of time and the intellectual puzzle it presents.

By positioning the line to suggest a horizon, Miyajima identifies San Francisco as a place so far west that the horizon might be seen as the demarcation point between the West and the East. The straight line is a form commonly used to imply continuum, finality, or infinity. Counter Line suggests the “linear” concept of time in the West while simultaneously invoking the Eastern apprehension of time as a fluid, nonobjective experience related to space. The work also proposes time as a substance that accumulates even as it disappears.

This artwork was featured in Tatsuo Miyajima: New Work. Learn more about SFMOMA’s New Work series.

Artwork Info

Artwork title
Counter Line
Artist name
Tatsuo Miyajima
Date created
digital media
224 red LEDs, 6 aluminum rails, 6 transformers, and connecting wire
3 1/2 in. × 663 in. × 4 3/4 in. (8.89 cm × 1684.02 cm × 12.07 cm)
Date acquired
Collection SFMOMA
Accessions Committee Fund purchase: gift of Emily L. Carroll and Thomas Weisel, Collectors Forum, Patricia and Raoul Kennedy, Pam and Dick Kramlich, Vicki and Kent Logan, Eve and Harvey Masonek, Elaine McKeon, Christine and Michael Murray, Chara Schreyer, and Helen and Charles Schwab
© Tatsuo Miyajima
Permanent URL
Artwork status
Not on view at this time.

Other Works by Tatsuo Miyajima

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