electricity

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Art

Miniature Power Line Towers Sprout from the Bristles of Toothbrushes by Takahiro Iwasaki

April 17, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Japanese artist Takahiro Iwasaki (previously) works with the finest bristles of toothbrushes and brooms to construct architectural structures as part of his ongoing series titled Out of Disorder (Brushes of World). Inspired by the industrial history of Japan, Iwasaki builds fragile radio towers, power lines, and other buildings by gluing tiny cut piece of brush filament cut from the objects open which they rest. The artist recently exhibited with URANO Gallery at Art Stage Singapore 2017, and you can see more of his miniature works on Artsy and Ocula Magazine.

 

 



Design History

The Timeless Beauty of Vintage Aerolux Light Bulbs Containing Floral Filaments

December 6, 2016

Christopher Jobson

From the 1930s through the 1970s, Aerolux Light Corporation produced these amazing novelty light bulbs that contained sculptural filaments in the shape of flowers, birds, and myriad other designs that would illuminate in different colors. The bulbs contained a mixture of neon or argon (or both) and some of the components were coated with phosphors to achieve different color effects. Via Wikipedia:

Aerolux gas discharge light bulbs contained low pressure gas, either neon or argon, or a mixture of the two. Also within the bulb were metal sculptures coated with phosphors. These phosphors fluoresced when excited by glow discharge. Because glow discharge occurs readily at 110-120 volts AC, one could use these bulbs in standard household lamps in the United States.

The phosphors used in the bulbs were somewhat brittle, necessitating care in handling. Shaking or jarring the bulbs would cause flaking and migration of the phosphors to other parts of the metallic sculpture. Such handling would leave non-fluorescing portions of the sculpture and/or migration of phosphors to other surfaces within the bulb.

At the height of production some of the bulbs sold for a mere .20 cents, but can now fetch hundreds of dollars on Ebay or Etsy. If you happen to be in New York you can see a bonafide Aerolux bulb that’s on permanent display at MoMA as part of an artwork by artist Dan Flavin. (via Neatorama, Geyser of Awesome, Oddity Central)

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Dan Flavin, Roses. Aerolux Flowerlite light bulb, ceramic flower pot, cord and light switch. 8 1/2 x 5 1/4″ (21.6 x 13.3 cm). Courtesy MoMA.

 

 



Photography

A Sea of Glistening Solar Mirrors Photographed at the Nevada SolarReserve by Reuben Wu

September 2, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

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Chicago-based photographer Reuben Wu (previously here and here) recently photographed the Nevada SolarReserve, a grouping over 10,000 mirrors which power nearly 75,000 homes both day and night during its peak season. Wu photographed the mass of reflective panels during nightfall, allowing the brilliant colors of the sunset to be doubled into the shining surfaces below. Wu likens the energy facility to a topographic ocean, considering it one of the greatest land art installations ever built.

One of Wu’s previous series “Lux Noctis” recently won a grand prize in Photo District News’ The Great Outdoors Photo Contest. You can see more of Wu’s natural and manmade landscapes on his Instagram and Facebook.

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Design Science

This Portable Salt-Powered Lamp Stays Illuminated for 8 Hours on a Glass of Seawater

July 27, 2015

Johnny Strategy

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First the sea gave birth to life. Now, thanks to a trio of Philippine-based inventors, it is giving birth to light as well. Led by engineer Lipa Aisa Mijena, the team has developed a lamp that’s capable emitting light for 8 hours on just 1 cup of saltwater. Not only are the Philippines prone to natural disasters like typhoons and earthquakes but the country is made up of over 7,000 islands, most of which do not have access to electricity, says the team. But one thing they do have is the sea, an abundant source of saltwater that can now be used to light homes and, in emergencies, power cell phones.

The saltwater-powered lamp uses the same science that forms the basis of battery-making. Where they differ from batteries is that the entire reaction is safe and harmless. Moreover, there are no flammable materials or components that go into lamp. Used 8 hours a day, every day, the team says the lamp can provide light for 6 months (or even over a year if used more efficiently) without having to replace any parts.

Over the past year or so SALt (Sustainable Alternative Lighting) has won 7 different sustainability and entrepreneurial awards. If interested, you can enter your name and email on their website to receive product updates but right now the team is focusing on building lamps for their target communities. (via Web Urbanist)

 

 



Photography Science

Tesla Sparks and Miniature Thunderstorms Photographed by Marc Simon Frei

June 18, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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Photographer Marc Simon Frei snapped these interesting photos by arcing objects to a Tesla coil. He’s also been experimenting with different kinds of LED-illuminated clouds (not unlike what we’ve seen from Richard Clarkson), and some fun shots of wool clouds sprouting tiny lighting storms. You can see more over on his Google+ page. (via The Awesomer)

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Design Science

How to Build the World’s Simplest Electric Train

December 1, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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The AmazingScience YouTube channel demonstrates how to build a ridiculously simple electric “train” with the help of a few magnets, a battery, and a copper coil. You can also use the same materials to build a little spinning motor-like contraption. (via Twisted Sifter)

 

 



Art Photography

Back to Light: Artist Caleb Charland Uses Fruit Batteries to Illuminate Long-Exposure Photographs

January 27, 2014

Christopher Jobson

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Fruit Battery Solar System, 2014

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Battery with Hanging Apples, 2013

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Limes and Lemons, 2013

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Electricity From a Ring of Apples, 2013

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Vinegar Batteries with Glassware and Shelf, 2013

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Grapefruit and Pomelo Battery, 2013

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Apple Lamp, 2014

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Apple Tree with Chandelier, Nettie Fox Farm, Newburgh, Maine 2013

Artist Caleb Charland (previously here and here) just unveiled several new images from his Back to Light series, where the artist uses nails inside fruit connected with copper wire to create functional batteries. Harnessed to a small lightbulb, the current is sufficient enough to provide illumination for long exposure photographs. Effectively, the organic batteries create enough voltage to light their own portrait. Charland says about Back to Light:

My current body of work, Back to Light, expands upon a classic grade school science project, the potato battery. By inserting a galvanized nail into one side of a potato and a copper wire in the other side a small electrical current is generated. The utter simplicity of this electrical phenomenon is endlessly fascinating for me. Many people have had the experience of drawing power from fruit in the classroom, and it never ceases to bring a smile to the face or a thought to the mind. This work speaks to a common curiosity we all have for how the world works as well as a global concern for the future of earth’s energy sources. […] My hope is that these photographs function as micro utopias by suggesting and illustrating the endless possibilities of alternative and sustainable energy production. The cycle that begins with the light of our closest star implanting organic materials with nutrients and energy, is re-routed in these images, Back to Light, illuminating earth once again.

Charland is currently focusing on his work full-time from a studio in Bangor, Maine, where he created another body of work titled Artifacts of Fire and Wax.