Author:   Heike Borowski  
Posted: 15.12.2005; 22:01:43
Topic: Sections | A | Victory over the Sun
Msg #: 21 (Erste Nachricht zum Thema)
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  Section A Victory over the Sun


The era of artificial light as a medium of art began with the discovery of the light bulb by Heinrich Göbel [1854] and its further development by Josef Swan [1878] and Thomas A. Edison [1879]. In Raoul Dufy's painting "La Fée Electricité" [The Electricity Fairy], 1937/38 a tribute to the pioneers of electricity he included a portrayal of the scientist Heinrich Hertz, who in Karlsruhe in 1889 demonstrated that electromagnetic waves dispersed in the same way and at the same speed as light, thus proving that light is nothing other than a special form of electromagnetic wave. The lightbulb's industrial production and rapid distribution resulted in night becoming day: artificial, man-made light could now replace natural light. This could be equated with a victory over the sun. Thus in 1913, an eponymous futuristic opera by Alexej Krutschonych [libretto], Michail W. Matjuschin [music], and Kasimir Malevitsch [stage set and costumes] declared the victory of technology over the cosmic powers of the sun, moon, and stars: the "Paradiso Terrestre" (1991) by Astrid Klein. Seen from an airplane, Earth's artificial lights illuminate the night like the stars in the heavens. The enthusiasm for artificial light and its symbol, the lightbulb, is mirrored in works by artists from various movements and generations, for example, Günther Uecker's "Große Lichtscheibe" [Light discs] (1970), Damir Sokic's "Skulptur" [Sculpture] (1979), and Yaacov Agam's "Fiat Lux" (1967). The multimedia opera "Der künstliche Wille" [The Artificial Will] (1984) by Peter Weibel and the excerpt "Licht-Bilder" [Light Images] (2004) from the opera cycle of the seven days of the week, "Licht" [Light] by Karlheinz Stockhausen, celebrate light's immense significance for nature and culture. Paul Thek and Gianni Colombo turn lightbulbs into self-illuminating globes and Joseph Beuys lights up a yellow lightbulb with the energy from a sun-ripened lemon. In 1960, Günther Uecker created a light disc with a diameter of 3 meters, which not only symbolized the sun, but also created real light and shadows. Jürgen and Nora Claus, on the contrary, use yellow argon gas to announce the dawning of the age of artificial sunlight: "L'age solaire" (1991). Where there is sunlight, there must also be clouds, thus Spencer Fitch, for example, constructs a thick cloud from blue filter foil that filters the simulated sun-like illumination from 100 fluorescent lights.