Electrified

Alexandre Burton & Edwin van der Heide

4/25/2014 - 6/22/2014

(photos by Joey Kennedy, Pittsburgh)

Electrified, works by Alexandre Burton and Edwin van der Heide

In “Electrified”, artists Edwin van der Heide and Alexandre Burton pay homage to the pioneering work of Nikola Tesla and his experiments in electricity, x-rays and wireless communication. Both installations are North American premieres

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Individual artist and exhibit information below:

Evolving Spark Network, Edwin van der Heide

Evolving Spark Network uses 80 identical spark bridges distributed regularly in the form of a monumental grid above the audience. The sparks are a metaphor for the electrical impulses by which our nerves communicate information. Just as neurons form networks in our bodies, the spark bridges form an interconnected network in the exhibition space. The movements of visitors in the installation space are detected by means of motion detection sensors and used to activate the network. Complexity arises through the interrelations between the individual spark bridges. The networked structure forms the starting point for an installation in which the result is more then the sum of the individual elements but could never exist without these individual elements. The result is a ‘cosmos’ of sparks with its own rules and behavior.

Evolving Spark Network is a multi sensory installation. The sparks produce both sound and light. The generated patterns have distinct visual and sonic qualities. The use of sound makes it possible to perceive the space as a whole. With our eyes we’re always focusing on something (while not focusing on the rest) but with our ears we perceive the whole space around us.

The electric spark represents beauty, purity and simplicity. It is one of the most elementary ways of creating light, and the produced impulse generates the shortest imaginable sound. Composing with these impulses can be seen as one of the most fundamental forms of composition in time and space.

Impacts, Alexandre Burton (This presentation is made possible partly through support from Le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec)

Tesla coils each fitted with a glass pane and suspended from the ceiling of the exhibition space make up the components of this “live” sculptural installation. The presence of the visitor before each sculptural device activates an audio and visual experience. The visitor’s proximity to the works engages arcs of electricity of variable intensities as well as a rhythmic articulation, generated by the impact of the electrical arc on the glass pane. In this way, Burton’s self description as a digital luthier makes complete sense.

As a symbolic and sonic source, the Tesla coil’s ability to throw electric arcs has been employed by a wide spectrum of artists, from Doug Hall to Björk. With this new work, Alexandre Burton proposes the use of plasma (loosely defined as an electrically neutral medium of positive and negative particles) as matter and medium itself, circumscribed by a defined frame and articulated through unique programming. In this way, IMPACTS serves as a reminder of the danger and muscle of this marvel while capturing its sublime beauty and rhythmic potential.

See Impacts live here


In “Electrified”, artists Edwin van der Heide and Alexandre Burton pay homage to the pioneering work of Nikola Tesla and his experiments in electricity, x-rays and wireless communication. Both installations are North American premieres.