Throwing Light

For Christmas I bought Wen an “Etch” by Tom Dixon. It’s a tetradecahedron (14 sides; mixture of hexagons and squares) where 13 of the faces have hundreds of holes cut in them and one face is open. You’re supposed to leave the open face up and drop a candle in it.

However, our apartment is full of candles (they were my mom’s gift of choice for years; we have a great selection) so I’ve basically sworn that I’m not allowed to bring any into the house. Plus, I thought it would be more interesting if the Etch was flipped upside down and instead powered by a brighter-than-a-candle-and-more-colourful-too BlinkM (an LED that can be programmed to cycle through colours).

Here’s the result:

I built a little box to house the BlinkM and it’s battery pack; the Etch sits on top of it. The video doesn’t do it justice (I don’t really know how to do low lighting video) and definitely doesn’t capture the range of lights and shadow-or the nifty projections it makes on the ceiling.

Here are a couple of photos to give you a better idea of what it looks like when lit up:

Sublime

Most people think of the word sublime as meaning to inspire awe, but one of the original connotations was that something sublime was the manifestation of god on earth.  I’m not a particularly religious person, but yesterday I could understand why some people defined the word that way.

Wen had a Saturday morning class; I went to meet her at Columbia for lunch.  Around 1pm or so we headed out for a walk and I asked if she wanted to go inside St John the Divine Cathedral; I’d walked past the place before, but never been in.  (If you’ve never heard of the cathedral, it matches anything Europe has to offer; you could fit the Statue of Liberty in it, lengthwise)

We walked around and on the way out we were awestruck by the light shining in through the stained glass.  The winter sun in New York hangs low in the sky, the cathedral sits on a hill and is surrounded by no obstructions plus we were there on a sunny day.  Here’s what we saw (my iPhone’s camera does not do it justice):

Light in St John the Divine

Light in St John the Divine

Light in St John the Divine

Light in St John the Divine

Light in St John the Divine