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As Light Goes By – Installation for the Mix it up! exhibition

June 26, 2015
AsLightGoesBy_FeaturedImage

As Light Goes By is an installation made for the Mix it up! exhibition, which took place at the “Set art free!” event that was organized in collaboration with the National Gallery of Denmark. As the idea of the exhibition was to remix artworks from the National Gallery using their public domain image collection, I chose Vilhelm Hammershøi’s (1864-1916) below painting called “Interior in Strandgade, Sunlight on the Floor” (1901) as a basis for my work. The painting depicts a peaceful room with a quiet figure and a pattern of sunlight on the floor. While capturing a particular moment, the painting also conveys the passage of time, as one can imagine the light pattern moving along with the sun.

AsLightGoesBy_01

Intrigued by the serene atmosphere of the painting, I built an electromechanical machine, which is essentially a pop-up version of Hammershøi’s room, where a repeating scene takes place. A light coming through the window moves across the floor like a day from dawn to sunset, and when it is night-time, sleepy tones from a music box accompany the silent figure.

Making of the installation started with editing the image of the painting into three separate pictures: floor, wall and the sitting figure. These images were then printed on paper and constructed into a simple pop-up style scene using cardboard, plastic sheet and wood. The next step was to build the “electronics backstage”, which included both mechanical parts and an electronics board with a power supply.

The most complicated part was the track mechanism, which moves the LED back and forth. It is driven by a small gear motor and includes 3D printed parts, metal rods, and thin rope. The reciprocating motion of the LED is achieved with a bistable relay and microswitches at each end of the track. When a switch is pushed by the LED carriage, the relay changes the state of its output switches, which results in changing the direction of the carriage. The installation includes also an another motor, which drives the music box, producing a slow melody. The light and the music alternate such that when the LED is on, the music box is silent, and vice versa.

You can find more details of the machine here on my website.

Kati Hyyppä
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