Alexander Salvesen: Just A Thermodynamic Machine

A light sculpture with water evaporating into an atmosphere.

Just A Thermodynamic Machine focuses on water vapour and the gaseous state of water. The Earth is just one thermodynamic machine in which sunlight warms water, causing it to evaporate and to create a pressure difference, thus creating winds that move the water, which rains back down to the ground. The artwork creates a slowly changing and dynamic movement where time, temperature, and chance have a big impact on the final look. The light of the projector warms the water and as it is evaporating it is collected above by different bowls and plates of glass where it then condenses and slowly drops back into the jar, creating a complex arrangement of prismatic water drops in the ceiling above. Light makes everything work; light is the motor of the movement. By taking inspiration from water drops, the atmosphere, and the planetary scale where everything happens, the artwork is both gigantic and small. Small changes have huge implications and eventually the warmth is too much, and all the water has evaporated. Then new water is inserted and the cycle beings again. 

Which kind of light sources and what other materials and equipment are used?
1 overhead projector, glass.

Please provide the dimensions of the work. Approximate size will do. Please mention if the work can be adjusted. (width-height-depth):
50x120x50 (artwork is projected straight up in the roof)

Electricity consumption:
Standard mains current (10A/16A).

Does the artwork use sound?
No sound.

Support and other structures:
The work includes all the necessary structures.

Please state which structures, hardware or other equipment is needed from the client:
If needed power cable to the artwork (shuko) or close by wall/floor socket, covers for cables (for safety).

Minimum height of the space:
2.5m max height approx 10m

Minimum square meters of the space:
9 (3x3)

Requirements for the space: darkness, temperature, colouring (light / dark / specific colour / other) etc.:
The darker the better, small lights or non intrusive artworks (no blinking etc) alright. Ceiling colour preferably bright white and clean from lights etc.

Building time and people required (estimate):
1 person 1 day

Artist's presence:
Artist or their representative must be present during building.

Seen before at:
Current States III, Helsinki 2022 (HAA Galleria Suomenlinna)


BLAF Best of Light Art in Finland
is hosted by
Finnish Light Art Society FLASH

Producer: Annukka Ketola
+358 40 735 3972

Mia Kivinen /
Anna Björklund /

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