sean mcalister
@jason bruges studio @project context @matzine @musarc @meta architecture

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strike the arc ii
8 November 2010

strike the arc 
and the emitting apparition

"all together, these elements articulate the conceptual ambition of the project: to produce a blinding, over lit object whose geometric finiteness is undermined by the tremendous glare and seemingly infinite falloff of light." - neil denari

this circuit diagram represents my modest exploration into the workings of fluorescent tubes; it is an 'electric-language' - symbol, glyph and line describe the voltaic relationships between components and their demanding potential differences. the circuit reminds me of a plan and its own unfolded sections, the circuit has a definite 'parti diagram' - imagine if architecture had one as simple/concise as this... mapping human movements, object proportions, air flow .... [thinking] 

there are a rapid series of events that takes place when you turn on a typical fluorescent light. the following takes an instant to occur, close to the speed of light, so in order to understand this sequence, and because we can't read fast enough, assume time is stretched out.

  1. push the button
  2. cathode element heats, then emits electrons 
  3. electrons collide with the low density noble gas, ionizing its atoms
  4. gas immediately around cathode turns into plasma and starts avalanche ionization [which is comparable to what allows lightning to occur] [note to self, get tesla into the discussion]
  5. everything inside the tube becomes great at conducting electricity
  6. a high current flows between the opposite cathodes [completing the circuit]
  7. light on

the emitting apparition
there is a ghost filament in a fluorescent light, unknown to the incandescent bulb. the bulb has her tungsten filament whereas the tube boasts nearly nothing inside, certainly no wire connecting the two cathodes. the emitting plasmatic stuff exists in a vastly different atmosphere to us, at just 0.3% the pressure of our air at sea level. [304Pa inside the tube, 101,325Pa of open air]

fluoroscape 2006
" all 224 lights are used as a field (the organizational) of stiffening members (structural) and dashed white lines (the graphic). these are held within seven laser cut, powder coated 3/16" thick steel formers (commonly known as ribs) that produce a series of different closed curves, all of which are filled and skinned with the f.s.l. elements." 

the above exhibition project "fluoroscape" by neil denari architects is a 'light object'-object - it certainly celebrates the module of the standard fsl tube. i like the intended ethereal description of this piece in the quote near the beginning of this post - "seemingly infinite fall-off of light". yet while obviously ambitious and imaginative and i'm excited by the idea of this kind of object, i'm not very much inspired by how it is represented on denari's website nor the accompanying text. maybe i'll ask him in person as neil the dude will be giving a lecture at the bartlett school of architecture soon - 16th november

strike the arc : more to follow

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