And where is the line between aesthetics and functionality?

· Musings

For the past few years I’ve been playing with extending Project Reclaim pieces and incorporating lighting through efficient LED lights powered from solar cells. The latest piece is made with a curving branch and the specific placement of solar lit bulb.

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It’s a functioning piece powered solely through its careful position and placement in the sun. It lights up once the cells are covered or when it’s dark. It lets off a warm glow enough to light up its surrounds, so officially it can function as a light, albeit for a short time.
But the viewers’ comments have mostly been about the sensuous curve of the branch, the delicate placement of the wicker and the contrast between the wood branch and glass bulbs.
So this asks me to consider further the objective of the piece. I want viewers to engage in the beauty of the organic materials and the possibility it could be more.
Its functionality was secondary, technically it would need a storage battery to enable the light to be extended into the night for more than an hour.
But what the solar lights enable is a different piece to be created. The viewer needs to be patient until the circumstances are right, and it’s ready to perform its light show.
So I prefer to think of this piece as one that asks the viewer to consider …what if.

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