Also see photos below

W. Beaty 2006  
  • "Outside In," Bumbershoot Aug/Sept 2005, Northwest Rooms: Fidalgo
  William J. Beaty 

  Kinetic sculpture; animated gas-discharge tube array
  (see mpeg 930K)

  Wall-mounted, somewhat flat, attaches to a wall at the top, 
  approx 4ft vertical, 12 ft wide, 4in thick, w/wall-mounted
  power supplies below.

   Tesla coils, adhesive foil electrodes, gas-discharge tubes, 
   HDPE cnc-milled support plates, Wavetek function generator, 
   Thermal Infrared proportional sensor, DC power supply

  Motions of gallery visitors are detected and used to slowly modulate
  the sinewave generator, adding randomness to the slow wave motion of 
  the lighted plasma.  The thermal infrared sensor is located centrally 
  below the lower edge.  To avoid the impression of "electric eye" 
  control, the sensor ignores any fast waving of hands, but responds 
  strongly to the moving warm bodies of strolling visitors.  Future 
  change: use the sensor to trigger a propagating wave, as if a stone
  has been dropped into the "water."

  In this second verison of the work, the tubes appear almost floating, 
  suspended by an unobtrusive horizontal plate.  Also, the ends of the 
  tubes are exposed to view.  This adds another small mystery, since no 
  wires lead to the normal connecting pins, and the metal foil drive- 
  electrodes are somewhat hidden.  In addition, the tubes are driven
  in "plasma finger mode," with a line of glowing plasma advancing
  downwards through each tube...  where devices familiar to everyone
  are behaving abnormally, creating another unexplained mystery.  In
  addition, these concepts touch on important but obscure history:
  Nikola Tesla intended us to have perpetual fluorescent lighting which 
  never required new bulbs.  These bulbs employ Tesla's radio frequency
  lighting concepts, and should last for centuries.  Also the individual
  tubes interact with each other via invisible e-fields, creating non-
  linear flickering behavior: a natural Cellular Automaton which behaves
  like sunlight reflecting on fluid ripples.  These multi-layered and
  multiply-connected mysteries will whisper interesting stories 
  nonverbally to the viewers' subconscious.

  As with a broad horizontal painting, it's wall mounted at approximately 
  chest height.  It requires a 120Vac outlet of only a couple of amps.  
  The fluorescent tubes do not light nearly to full brightness, so the 
  dynamic glow effects will be not be visible in a brightly lit gallery.  
  The tubes run at around one watt each, so it won't need an entirely 
  dark room, but also it cannot be placed next to white walls with 
  intense floodlights.  (I can provide one glowing tube and we can test 
  the amount of ambient light which is appropriate.

  If "Art is the lie that makes us realize the truth," then art contains 
  far too much lying; far too much of the shallow facade of technical
  expertise (or with luck, too much of shallow surface esthetics.)  No 
  matter the acclaim directed at certain works, usually we detect nothing
  beneath their surface besides our own psychological projections.  The
  Quality within a piece depends almost entirely on the perceiver, and 
  most art is one-dimensional in this way.  But is it even POSSIBLE to
  create Quality which is separate from the Quality projected by a human
  audience?  Let's find out.  My goal is to attack the universal trend of
  art based on shallow facades and viewer-provided interpretation.

  The "Pond Machine" series attempts to expose the deep and multi-level
  esthetics concealed behind the mundane face of the material world.  The
  series is focused upon a single element in nature: the nature of water.
  I then explore various ideas and phenomena by presenting distorted but
  active embodiments of the hidden physics and mathematics of fluids in
  order to make these ideas and phenomona directly visible, or better yet,
  directly grasped.  Rather than the well-explored "art as Rorschach-blot,"
  call it "art as chemistry-set."

  William Beaty
  PO Box 351700
  Seattle, WA 98195-1700

  206-762-3818 h

Opening Night, Bumbershoot 2005

horizontal array of 84 vertical fluorescent tubes,top halves 
Version III.I at Outside In show, Bumbershoot 2005

Nothing behind the curtain, no obvious clues to how this operates.

Closeup of individual Tesla coils, one per tube.

See photos below

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