Solar Equation by Rafael Lozano -Hemmer is a public art installation consisting of a simulation of the sun, 100 million times smaller than the real thing. Lozano-Hemmer, a Mexican-born artist with a degree in physical chemistry, creates installations which allow viewers to interact with them via technology. Solar Equation, commissioned by the Light in Winter Festival in Melbourne in 2010, features the world’s largest spherical balloon, custom-manufactured for the project, which was tethered over a public square and animated using five projectors. The solar animation on the balloon is generated by live mathematical equations that simulate the turbulence, flares and sunspots that can be seen on the surface of the Sun, producing a dynamic display that never repeats itself, giving viewers a glimpse of phenomena observable at the solar surface. The project uses SOHO and SDO solar observatory imaging from NASA. Using a downloadable iPhone or iPad app, people may disturb the animations in real-time and select different fluid dynamic visualizations.
Lozano Hemmer aims to evoke the scientific as well as the metaphorical power of the sun. He says of this piece: “While pertinent environmental questions of global warming, drought, or UV radiation might arise from the contemplation of this piece, Solar Equation intends to likewise evoke romantic environments of ephemerality, mystery, and paradox.”
More at the artist’s website.