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188 Artists’ Statements points between our physical and virtual selves. As a collection, they further suggest the rooftops of a cityscape, implying the greater context in which we interact . Framed within the structures, we see original, semi-transparent digital paintings that suggest at times that we are inside looking and out and at others that we are outside looking in (Fig. 1). The content of the paintings suggests a representation of real spaces while simultaneously encouraging an abstraction of reality. Subtle questions arise: are the scenes real or fictitious? Are they constructed from external physical references or internal meditative imagination? The arrangement of the hanging elements , the lighting of the space and the framed images printed on clear material allow for the “projection” of the images onto the surfaces and onto visitors to the installation space. The semi-clear image surface allows visitors to look through the structures, revealing other hangings and people in the space. Additionally , the frames cast shadows about the larger context of the environment . These plays in lighting, imagery and viewing direction provoke both mild confusion and reassuring reference . The physical and metaphysical constructs assist the viewer-participant in a continual play of opposites—light/ dark, inner/outer, self /other, real/virtual . As the participants move about the hanging structures, they engage in the environment either explicitly (by choosing to use the imagery as points of departure for reflection) or implicitly (by effecting the play of light and shadow as they negotiate their movements with others in the environment). HITAVAETTUR AND THE IMPLICATIONS OF GEOTHERMAL SCULPTURE Robert Dell, 421 Washington Street, Tappan, NY 10983, U.S.A. E-mail: . Received 16 August 1999. Accepted for publication by Roger F. Malina. Manifestations of helio- and geo-generated energy—wind, sunlight, water flow and lightning, etc.—are traditionally used by kinetic artists to trigger configurational or other perceptible changes in their work. These natural forces also have the added benefit of providing the chaotic element that is essential in avoiding cyclical repetition and subsequent viewer boredom. Geothermal energy has been overlooked for two obvious reasons: first, it can be dangerous and is often officially inaccessible for artistic interactions [1]; second, the often spectacular visual and audial displays accompanying this energy —including geyser eruptions and brilliant bacterial colorations, etc.—often provide difficult competition on the visual stage. My own history with this medium began in 1985 and was first realized in a successful temporary installation entitled Hitavaettur [2] at Iceland’s Krisuvik geothermal field in 1988. This project was funded by a Fulbright Senior Research Fellowship and aided by the Reykjavik Municipal District Heating Service. In 1991 the piece became a permanent installation at Perlan, Iceland’s Geothermal Civic Center in Reykjavik, where it is powered by the geothermal hot water that heats the City. The biomorphic sculpture stands at about human height, and possesses a metallic epidermis and structural support system. It has a hot-water circulation system that generates a heat field and gives the work a comforting mammalian surface warmth. Electricity is generated by the temperature difference between the geothermal heat source and the ambient air using an advanced thermocouple system [3]. The flow of air currents in the atmosphere is dependent upon wind, sunlight, humidity, rain and snow. This random element, in addition to the variability of geothermal surface manifestations, provides an electrical record of environmental change. This generated variable electricity then powers diode lasers, brilliant light emitting diodes (LEDs) and incandescent light sources that become visible when diffracted through semi-clear quartz crystals. Sections with cholesteric liquid crystal panels change color and, combined with the surface warmth of the sculpture, comprise a perceptual kinetic triad. As a Research Fellow at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies (CAVS) from 1993 to 1997, I was able to develop a geothermal simulator: a closed system using standard household electricity to heat water to any desired temperature and to control flow rates and durations. With this apparatus all of the kinetic effects could be quantified, studied and refined. CAVS enabled me to access information and systems of analysis that greatly enlarged my aesthetic resources. Installations at Tufts University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard—none...


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pp. 188-189
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