What does the class title “Interactive Light” mean?
Seeing isn't believing, we want to reach out and touch to confirm our observation, its as if we’re hardwired to react to wonder in this way. This was apparent from the first time at the San Francisco Exploratorium in 1972, when I reached out and touched the lightning in a Bill Parker Xenon filled plasma sculpture. Parker is widely considered the father of modern plasma art, establishing a high technical and artistic benchmark for all artists to follow. He’s responsible for the large plasma globes we're all familiar with utilizing an external electrode that I will go over in a later blog entry.
Bill Parker with "Quiet Lightning" at SF Exploratorium
Behind this interaction of wonderment there is also a fundamental principle of physics at work calling for your contact with a plasma object. These streaming wisps of light are positively charge ions flowing around looking to discharge their energy to a negatively charged body(you) or earth ground. There can be a greater or lesser emphasis placed upon this interaction but it is impossible to ignore.
Mundy Hepburn installation at Charles F Smith Fund 2006
Then of course there’s the whimsical sculptures of Mundy Hepburn. Hepburn has been combining offhand blown forms with neon flameworking for decades. These are displayed in large dancing groups of luminous forms. I want to introduce to you some of whom I consider the best plasma artists of our time in the course of this blog.