Vaseline Glass Chandeliers: A Response to Fukushima Daiichi

Some people call it Uranium Glass, insiders call it Vaseline Glass because its color and internal sheen resembles Vasoline as it was made around the 1930’s.  The long and short of it is that it’s glass doped with Uranium, fluoresces under ultraviolet wavelengths, and it is absolutely beautiful.  Check it out:

Vaseline Glass is some lovely, lovely stuff, isn’t it?  Just to show its awesomeness, let’s look at a piece from the Depression era, lit with long wave UV:

Most evidences of this glass come from between the mid-to-late-1700’s to current manufacturing, and yeah, it’s literally made with uranium, the radioactive element that we all have heard of in some form or fashion.  There are instances of this glass being located in a mosaic containing yellow glass with 1% uranium oxide found in a Roman villa, and the guy who discovered Uranium, Martin Klaproth, who was apparently also using the newly discovered element as a glass colorant.

That green color is eerie, yeah?  or as the Canadians say, “eh?”

Two artists took that idea of Uranium-doped glass and turned it into a statement on the horrific Fukushima-Daiichi disaster.  Meet Ken and Julia Yonetani‘s work, named Crystal Palace: The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nuclear Nations.  They took metal wire, Uranium glass, and some UV lighting and created twenty-nine chandeliers representing the twenty-nine nations using nuclear power.  Check it out:

From Ken and Julia’s website on the work:

In direct response to Japan’s 2011 horrific Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident and the phenomenon of leaking radiation, Crystal Palace: The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nuclear Nations comprises an installation of chandeliers made from vintage Uranium glass beads alongside glowing text based works made from vintage Uranium glass tubing shaped into words such as – ‘radioactive’, ‘meltdown’ and ‘electric dreams’.

Chandeliers are not only an item of luxury, but also an extravagant emblem of the beauty of electricity and the seductiveness of consumerism.The artists have reconfigured them to emanate UV light instead of standard light, and decorated them with specially sourced Uranium glass in place of traditional crystals.

“You can’t see, smell or perceive radiation with your senses, but it becomes visible in our works when illuminated with ultraviolet lights,” says Julia Yonetani. “Presented in darkness, the glass chandeliers and tubes glow with an eerie bright green light indicating the presence of radiation. We hope to prompt viewers to react in their own way to this radioactive presence.”

Commonly used in the 19th and early 20th centuries for sugar bowls, cake stands and other decorative objects, Uranium glass contains very small traces of Uranium within the glass, is legal and poses no health risks.

Crystal Palace references London’s Great Exhibition of 1851, which was intended as a platform to celebrate both modern technology and to enhance Great Britain’s role as a leading industrial nation of the time.

“The chandeliers in Crystal Palace represent the USA, Japan, Germany, Finland, France and various other countries. For the complete body of work we will ultimately make a total of 29 chandeliers, which represent each of the countries that operate nuclear power stations today,” says Ken Yonetani.

“The size of each chandelier correlates to the scale of each country’s nuclear output, with the chandelier representing the USA being the largest at 1.6m in diameter and 2m high.”

“My family lives in Tokyo, quite close to where the disaster happened,” he adds. “At the time of the tsunami, Japan had 54 operating nuclear reactors, relying on them for 30% its total electric power. The Fukushima accident shows Japan’s complacency around nuclear power and radiation and also asks questions of Australians, because Australia is the number one exporter of Uranium to Japan.”

That’s a heck of a statement, and Crystal Palace is one heck of an exhibit.  Ken and Julia’s work will be playing at the Artereal Gallery in Sydney, Australia from October 3 to November 4, 2012.  Check it out if you’re there, this has to be awesome!

Ken and Julia Yonetani:

Thanks 1st Glass, Spoon and Tamago, United Nuclear, We Waste Time, and Wikipedia!

Quadrotor Light Show

What happens when you take a four rotor helicopter and some photons?

 

With the help of mirrors… ONE TOTALLY RADICOOL LIGHT SHOW:

So what did you just see? The production by University of Pennsylvania’s GRASP (General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception Lab) uses 16 quadrotors both as lighting devices, but also the mirrors they’re equipped with to manipulate light.

If anyone has more information about how the quadrotors, mirrors, and fixtures are controlled and their interactions programmed, I would love to know! Please post a comment, or you can always reach me via my bio in the footer, the contact form, or daphne (at) jimonlight (dot) com!

Congratulations to the team: Jonathan Santana & Xander Smith (event concept), Juliette Larthe (producer), Marshmallow Laser Feast (Memo Akten, Robin McNicholas, Barney Steel, Raffael Ziegler, Rob Pybus, Devin Matthews, James Medcraft), KMel Robotics (quadrotor design and development), Oneohtrix Point Never (sound design), Sam & Arthur (set design) Holly Restieaux (production supervisor), and Farrow Design (typography and design).

Thanks to Peter Kirkup for directing me to the topic on Blue Room!

Dancing With Light

I’m going to just let this video speak for itself… Anything I say isn’t going to begin to express the INSERT-EXCITED-AND-OVERWHELMINGLY-POSITIVE-ADJECTIVE-HERE-ness of this video.

Thank you so much to Nicola Andrews for sharing this on her Tumblr, and to TED for sharing the fact that design and light can be just as inspiring as the variety of their other talks.

Hate to Bust Your Cheops, But the Planetary Alignment Thing is Bullsh*t

Have you seen this thing lately?

There are so many things wrong with this that I cannot even start to name them — but Discover Magazine’s Blog did, and it sounds like this:

…and not to mention, their post is called Planetary Alignment Pyramid Scheme.  BAAAHAHAHA!

Check out Discover Magazine’s retort to this crazy image that just about everyone on the internet passed around recently.  Hilarious!

H2WHOA

Ok… WOW!

Yeah. I could watch that gif all day. Implying that I haven’t been watching it all day, right? Riiiiight… *shifty eyes*

So what is this amazing thing? It’s Water Light Graffiti, a project by Antonin Fourneau with Jordan McRae and Guillaume Stagnaro. There were graffiti performances by Collectif Painthouse and the project was made at the ArtLab. Anyway, words fail… check it out! Thanks to the fabulous Fox for sharing this. Especially the video at the end of the post:

DIY Geekery: Circuit Board Lights!

So I was wandering around Camden Town when I stumbled across Cyberdog. First off, this store is futuristic flamboyant and flat-out fabulous. If you’re in London, and looking for a scene Japanese Street Fashion, or are a fan of neon colors, reflective fabrics, the Jetsons, UV, electronics, or kinky alien high priestess bustiers, this is the place for you:

While wandering, I came across some wicked cool light fixtures! They were selling rectangular prism lantern-style fixtures made out of repurposed circuit boards. Not only were they really awesome, they looked quite easy to make! Taking apart old electronics is already an exciting hobby, and I’m always coming up with new projects to reuse the “waste” on.  Here’s a small gallery of the lamps I saw in Camden, and a quick google shows there are lots of other cool ones on the internet as well! For example here and here.

If you decide to make your own, I’d love to see what you’re working on!

Thank you for the Cyberdog store images.

So Fly(light)

Studio Drift’s Fragile Future has been a favorite of mine since I saw it years ago at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City. And they’re still cranking out the awesome!

Flylight is another beautiful design from Studio Drift. Each piece is composed of at least 180 glass tubes, each individually controlled and sensitive to movement. They react to movement according to a programmed DNA. Each movement of Flylight is unique; there are no repeating patterns. Read about what Studio Drift says about the design DNA below:

The glass tubes that light up and respond to the viewer are inspired by the behavior of a flock of birds and the fascinating patterns they seem to make randomly in the air. Actually this behaviour is not as accidental as it looks; birds have to keep a safe distance from each other. What will happen if an intruder interrupts their flight? This is what the viewer will experience when approaching the FLYLIGHT. We converted this bird-behaviour into a digital DNA and translated it into understandable visualizations with light.

Check out a bit of the video below to see how the piece interacts with humans: