electricity

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Craft Design

A Whimsical Ad Uses Conductive Thread to Light Up Miniature Scenes Made of Yarn and Fabric

September 8, 2021

Grace Ebert

Simple landscapes dotted with felt trees, miniature power lines, and spool-propelled ambulances become twinkling nightscapes and whimsically glowing scenes in “Connecting Thoughts.” The advertisement, which was created to promote the Japanese infrastructure firm Kandenko’s “Everyone Lights up the Future” message, uses Smart-X conductive thread to send electric currents through figures stitched into gloves and around yarn-based architecture, illuminating each scenario with tiny bulbs. This short piece follows the company’s 2016 ad, which used a conductive marker to create a dazzling pop-up book.

 

 

 



Design

The Most Powerful Tidal Turbine To Date Produces Clean, Reliable Energy Off the Scottish Coast

August 5, 2021

Grace Ebert

Earlier this year, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine launched off the Orkney coast, where it will spend the next 15 years generating enough clean energy to power about 2,000 households in the U.K. “O2” is the novel development of the Scottish engineering company Orbital Marine Power, which manufactured the 74-meter-long design during the last decade and a half.

Anchored in the turbulent waters in the Fall of Warness off the northeastern point of Scotland, the 2MW machine is connected to the onshore electricity network of the European Marine Energy Centre. The testing facility uses the powerful currents flowing through the channel from the North Atlantic Ocean to the North Sea—these streams reach 7.8 knots at spring tides—to produce a reliable electricity source for local communities. During its stay, “O2” will also support the center’s hydrogen electrolyzer, which is the first in the world to produce the pure element through tidal velocities, and further aid in broad decarbonization efforts.

Orbital Marine Power has plans to commercialize the innovative technology behind “O2,” which you can explore in detail on the company’s YouTube. (via designboom)

 

All images © Orbital Marine Power, shared with permission

 

 



Photography

Freshly Cut Flowers Make Sparks in Electrically Charged Images by Hu Weiyi

February 18, 2019

Anna Marks

Image credits: Hu Weiyi and A+ Contemporary

Image credits: Hu Weiyi and A+ Contemporary

In The Tentacles project, by Chinese artist Hu Weiyi, bright sparks and fiery electrical waves flow through a series of freshly blossomed flowers against matte gray backgrounds. To produce the images, Hu uses high-voltage capacitors to create electrical currents that run through the pink and maroon roses, showcasing the power of electricity in all its beauty and danger.

The photo series was inspired by a previous project Hu created in 2014, called Flirt, which introduced cold light to various objects to manipulate viewers’ perception without using digital software. “I then began to study the high-voltage arc and made a high-voltage capacitor which can instantaneously penetrate through the air,” says Hu. “The principle is similar to that of the electric baton, but much stronger.”

The research behind The Tentacles took Hu over a year. He worked with various technicians to try different types of electric discharge devices that would exert the right amount of electrical flow to be captured by his camera. In this experimental phase, Hu used dozens of roses and took hundreds of photographs before finding the right images and settings for his final collection. “My studio is therefore filled with the unpleasant smell of rotten flowers, just like a morgue,” says the artist.

Hu’s work illustrates the aesthetic beauty and diversity of physical forms; the softness and stillness of the spongy rose petals in comparison to the dangerous allure of the electrical spark. “The moment of discharge is wonderful and sexy, but it can also be a cold-blooded tool for torture and execution,” he explains. Hu’s combination of materials illustrate the impermanence of natural plant matter, much like the fragile nature of the human body when exposed to lightning. “The flowers in full bloom remind me of my own fragility and powerlessness,” says Hu.

In comparison to manipulating photographs with software such as Photoshop, the time, precision and research in Hu’s work gives the subjects in his images more weight, their electricity more tangible. You can see more of Hu’s photographs on A+ Contemporary’s website.

 

 



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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