In this experiment sunlight and sand are used as raw energy and material to produce glass objects using a 3D printing process, that combines natural energy and material with high-tech production technology. Solar-sintering aims to raise questions about the future of manufacturing and triggers dreams of the full utilization of the production potential of the world’s most efficient energy resource – the sun. Whilst not providing definitive answers, this experiment aims to provide a point of departure for fresh thinking.
Kimchi and chips
99 robotic mirrors continuously move throughout the day to follow the sun like sunflowers. These mirrors, arrayed across two 5 meter tall towers and one 15 meter long track, each emit a beam of sunlight into a cloud of water mist. The beams are computationally aligned so that together they draw a bright circle in the air. Dependent entirely on the presence of the sun for its completion, the work explores the possibilities and limitations of technology to capture what is out of reach, to harness nature and bring the sun down to earth. Collaborating with the natural fluctuations in the climate, Halo appears only for moments when the wind, sun, water, and technology coincide, creating a form which exists between the material and immaterial.
I was inspired by how the sunlight bounces around in our artificial forest.
“Squint” is a kinetic light installation consisting of 49 mirrors that reflect lights in a bright space. The mirrors track and reflect lights on audiences’ face with composed patterns of movements. It extends the generated perception by focusing on how lights pass across our visual senses physically, and combines with our perception of images through flickering. “Squint”, which extracts various daily experiences to an abstraction brings the audience to expand their interpretation of lights and perceived imagination into a non-linear experience.
“Squint” simulates light source and intentionally shines lights on audience’s faces. Bright light is projected in the gallery, a clean bright space.
Everyday people are dynamically moving around in the city. Sunlight reflects and flickers even when it is indirect and hidden behind the artifacts. While we are traveling, we are experiencing motion. We are also experiencing the shift of light intensity, visual patterns and textures. The varieties of light forms inspire the artist to explore the potential of light textures, select and sort out the combined complexity in urban space. The artist turns them into a minimal form of light experience, while maximizing its diversity of perception.
Light from a window behind the work dapples sculptural waves with pockets of sunlight, making it appear as if it is actually rippling before your eyes. If it wasn’t for the walls that contain the deep blue piece, one might assume they’ve created a real wave machine inside the Mori Art Museum where the work is currently installed.
Photographs of painted people, tinted by sunlight flooding in through colorful tissue paper, are interspersed with delicate ferns and towering bamboo sticks. A lithium drone within the gallery’s white walls is broken up by Night Soil – Fake Paradise, an experimental documentary film by Melanie Bonajo in which women from Brooklyn candidly discussion their deeply personal experiences with ayahuasca. Some of the revelations are blissful and mystic while others turn completely horrifying, melting the psyche down into utterly submissive goo — Bonajo’s way of reminding us of the immeasurable power of psychedelic substances.
Soft Spin is a public art project which also featured a performance intervention, in the style of “flash mobs”. Colour, texture, movement, and decidedly flirtatious forms invite visitors to look up and embrace the unexpected, highlighting the ever-present potential for encounters with unforeseen pleasure and drama in the day-to-day. From the possibility of feeling miniaturized by the enormity of the installation’s curvaceous hemlines to the play of sunlight through the bursts of spring-time colour, Soft Spin steps away from legers, straight lines, and the black and white. The clean, engineered certainty of corporate grandeur is infused with an immersive dose of the whimsical, the feminine, and the celebratory.
The work here in Dawson is like an old vehicle in which I’ve put a new engine. Entitled Canoe, it consists of an approximately 20 foot long trough of water, that resembles some kind of boat. This provides a means for a gunwales tracking mechanism to slowly, endlessly paddle its way back and forth. It was first constructed in 2001 in a studio beside Halifax harbour. It draws visual inspiration from the bridges and water vessels of this port. Conceptually, it grew from an interest in technological obsolescence: how things (like canoes) make shifts from utility to leisure.
It has experienced several major rebuilds since 2001. Most of them have been practical, but for Dawson I’ve opted for an experimental configuration that changes significantly the nature of the work. Previously, Canoe has only ever been shown indoors. Normally in runs on rechargeable batteries, with a continuous, smooth motion. In Dawson, it is shown outdoors, alongside the Yukon river, showing up in an absurd way the paleness of its artificial river. Here, the primary source of power is sunlight.
Making use of the long northern day, solar panels receive light, storing energy in an array of super-capacitor cells. At this time, Canoe remains still. A custom circuit monitors the amount of charge, and when a predetermined trigger point is reached, it is dumped into Canoe’s electric motor in a burst, allowing it to make a few strokes. Then Canoe rests, while the charging cycle begins again. Motion is intermittent, entirely dependent on the amount and intensity of sunlight. It ranges from near standstill in overcast conditions to perhaps 1 or 2 strokes every minute in full light. The technical term for this type of circuit is a relaxation oscillator. I like this term because, if you remove it from its technical context, it points back to ideas about leisure and utility.
photophon #1 is an installation based on intensive acoustic research of the photoacoustic effect. The photoacoustic effect is based on the phenomena of radiant energy. A strong light source can be converted into a sound wave due to absorption and thermal excitation. This causes sound waves due to pressure variations. The photoacoustic effect was discovered in the 19th by Alexander Graham Bell. He then used candlelight, sunlight, and the first forms of electricity in order to amplify sound.
For Montreal-based designer Valerie Lamontagne, the spark of creativity can come from the most unlikely of sources. In the case of her climate-reactive dresses, Lamontagne found inspiration in “Peau d’Âne,” a French fairy tale that begins with a king’s vow to remarry only when he finds a woman who equals his late queen’s beauty and virtue. Pressed to find a new wife, he concludes that his daughter alone qualifies. (Quel scandale!) The princess delays the wedding by demanding impossible prenuptial gifts, including three dresses made from moonbeams, sunlight, and the sky. Lamontagne recreates these fantastic gowns but with a high-tech twist: Each dress reacts—in real time—to changing weather conditions.
Cénotaphe à Newton
Boullée promoted the idea of making architecture expressive of its purpose, a doctrine that his detractors termed architecture parlante (“talking architecture”), which was an essential element in Beaux-Arts architectural training in the later 19th century. His style was most notably exemplified in his proposal for a cenotaph (a funerary monument celebrating a figure interred elsewhere) for the English scientist Isaac Newton, who 50 years after his death became a symbol of Enlightenment ideas. The building itself was a 150 m (500 ft) tall sphere, taller than the Great Pyramids of Giza, encompassed by two large barriers circled by hundreds of cypress trees. The massive and spheric shape of the building was inspired by Boullée’s own study called “theory of bodies” where he claims that the most beautiful and perfect natural body is the sphere, which is the most prominent element of the Newton Memorial. Though the structure was never built, Boullée had many ink and wash drawings engraved and circulated widely in the professional circles in 1784. The small sarcophagus for Newton is placed at the lower pole of the sphere. The design of the memorial is intended to create the effect of day and night. The night effect occurs when the sarcophagus is illuminated by the sunlight coming through the holes in the vaulting, giving the illusion of stars in the night sky. The day effect is an armillary sphere hanging in the center that gives off a mysterious glow. Thus, the use of light in the building’s design causes the building’s interior to change its appearance.