We designed a light sculpture, called Pandora, inspired by the Italian Futurist and Cubist art movements. The Futurists were obsessed with speed, technology, machines, cities, and industrialization, and our light sculpture echoes these themes: rapidly changing flares and shadows, pieces broken up and reassembled, with a lot of geometric movement.

My partner, Thitiphong Luangaroonlerd, and I really liked the use of a single light source and water in 3D sculpture, and we wanted to combine these two materials in our piece. We both like the work of Olafur Eliasson, and artist who uses these mediums in his art. We chose to use glass and mirrors, water, and a green laser as mediums in our light sculpture, as we wanted to explore the effects of “bouncing” and “diffusing” the laser light, to manipulate how the diffraction of light waves creates beautiful shapes and movement against the black darkness.

We were lucky that my husband owns a high-powered, 300 milliwatt 532 nanometer (green) laser. We constructed a completely pitch black room and used this single laser to create the green light in our sculpture. We filled several glass containers with water and placed mirrors at different angles to catch the light.

The laser is roughly 60 times more powerful than a standard laser pointer, so Thitiphong and I had to wear protective glasses when we were using it. This safety precaution made it quite difficult for us to see the laser effects in real-time, so we had to experiment and record our movements on video and then play back the video to see what worked and what didn’t work. This method actually created a really fun, adventurous dynamic in our work and allowed us to be really free with our creations. In the end, I think this experimental aesthetic contributed a lot to our final piece.

Here are two demos from our laser testing. We started by testing the laser in a single vase filled with water placed on top of a mirror.

Demo 2

Demo 1

Here are some Futurist and Cubist pieces from the 20th century that inspired us in our work with this piece of art:

Gino Severini

Carlo Carra

Christopher Richard Wynne Nevinson

Giacomo Balla

I wonder what these guys would do with lasers.

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