Photo courtesy of Pearl Ave Library
For the first time ever, glass art, technology, and solar power have been combined into one unified, pioneering work—it's called "Solar Illumination I: The Evolution of Language" and it's a vibrant, electric, head-turning piece. And what does it all do? It powers a single LED lamp inside the adjacent San Jose Library. Okay, so that part's not quite as grand as the rest of the spectacle. But it's still a really cool concept nonetheless. And it really is the first such public art piece to incorporate solar technology into glass art. The idea that stationary art can be fully functional—and environmentally beneficial to boot—is an interesting one to consider. Sure, we've already seen such principles applied to architecture (surely an art form, by this writer's consideration) and we've seen proceeds from paintings boost environmental causes and plenty of music that broadcasts affirming green messages.
But sculpture, in the traditional form—other than being made from reclaimed or sustainable materials hasn't ever really been functionally green. Now, with photovoltaic cells becoming ever more adaptable, art could be put to work right while we're sitting there looking at it. And though part of "Solar Illumination" is certainly highlighting the idea that it is generating power (though what that has to do with the origins of language remains a mystery to me), perhaps the energy producing element could be the foundation of future pieces—works of art made entirely out of photovoltaic cells, anyone? In the not-so-distant future, we may begin to see a trend of entirely functional, clean energy producing art pop up in galleries and parks around the country. Stranger things have happened.
"Solar Illumination I: The Evolution of Language," by artist Lynn Goodpasture, can be found outside the Pearl Avenue Branch Library in San Jose, California.