untangling the awkward relationship between art and money

Sun spots before my eyes: Rafael Lozano-Hemmer at Fed Square

OK. Just back from the launch of aforementioned Rafael Lozano-Hemmer installation, Solar Equation for Fed Square’s Light in Winter Festival. Hot off the presses, an extremely poor-quality photo from my little digital camera that only communicates a tiny sense of how extraordinary the experience is.

The projection on the three-dimensional sphere pulses and swirls – as impossible as it sounds, its scale and luminosity is such that it actually seems to warm you. I had dinner at an outdoor table at one of the restaurants in the Square, and kept doing a double-take at the looming orb above us. It really has to be seen to be believed. And, as amazing as it looks from the Flinders Street Station approach, it’s even more stunning when ‘happened’ upon – at one point, I wandered off behind the building now housing ABBA World (!?), and rounded a corner to find the sun peeking out at me from behind the edge of the building.

Best of all, I had a go at an iPad control that allowed me to interact with the display, changing colours and solar ‘seasons’. Apparently it will be possible to download a free app for iPhone or iPad so that we can all channel our inner supreme being, and control the sun at will when we’re within WiFi range of the display (there’s a delay on the application for a couple of days, but if you search for ‘Solar Equation’ in the Apps store early next week, I’m told you should be able to find it. In the meantime, if you go to the fine Fed Square restaurant, Il Pomodoro, and hand over your credit card for security, there are ten iPhones uploaded with the app, and you can have a play for free).

My only regret? That my first live encounter with Solar Equation didn’t occur late at night after a few too many liquid refreshments. Because that would be truly mind-blowing.

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