JOHN KLIMA'S "SUN DIAL"
Eight small propellers fixed to the wall of the Armory's back lobby whirl on and off throughout the day. Sometimes three are in motion, sometimes four, sometimes none. Visitors may interact with the installation by blocking the sunlight that reaches the eight wall-mounted switches with their hand. Deprived of a light source, an attached motor kicks in, causing each respective propeller to whirl.
A single solar panel entirely powers the installation called "Sun Dial." Artist and creator John Klima explains: "Casting a shadow on the switches triggers the motors. The ‘pot’ or volume knob next to each motor can also be adjusted, allowing the viewer to set sensitivity levels and find the system's balancing point. The viewer’s actions, the physical installation, and the variability of the sun all combine to create an intriguing behavior rather than a static experience."
To be fully powered and operational, the entire circuit requires no less than nine volts. The solar panel powering the installation generates between 4 and 16 volts, depending on weather conditions and time of day. "This creates a balancing act between the power consumed and the power available to the system," explains Klima. Triggering the light-sensitive switches with the shadow cast by a hand powers the motors and makes the propellers spin, but if there is not enough power, the switches turn off and the motors (and propellers) stop. Thus the installation "pulses" based on the fluctuations of available power from the solar panel.
"Sun Dial addresses the notion of permanence as it relates to technological and new media art by exposing the inner workings as an integral part of the work's aesthetics. Rather than a vain attempt to create art that will last forever, this installation was designed for easy, affordable maintenance with readily available components and a very basic understanding of electronics," says Klima.
John Klima is a New York-based artist with interest in new media and art software. Once a programmer, Klima now works solely as a media artist, intrigued by the opportunity to link the virtual world to the real one. His work has been exhibited at European festivals, and in Tokyo. One award-winning project, glasbead, allowed users/participants to manipulate different sound samples/files to create their own musical soundscapes and rhythmic sequences. EARTH, a project commissioned by Zurich Capital Markets and exhibited at the Whitney Museum, is a unique geo-spatial visualization system that takes real-time data from the Internet and positions it accurately onto a three-dimensional model of the Earth.