Kinetic sculptures and sound circuits: building sun-powered artwork at Pioneer Works

In 2014, multimedia artist Alex Nathanson co-curated an assignment known as Nightlight that grew to become a garden in Queens into an interactive light exhibit. The team was hoping to electricity the show by jogging a cable out, but that turned out not to be possible, and “sun energy became the solution.”

Kinetic sculptures and sound circuits

Since then, Nathanson has been inquisitive about the intersection of solar strength and artwork. He controlled Sunset, a Central Park artwork set up that consisted of a sun-powered ice cream truck, and he now teaches training on art and engineering. During two recent Sundays, college students at Pioneer Works, an artwork area in Brooklyn, learned to make sun-powered robots and occasional-voltage sound sculptures.

According to Nathanson, many large “sun installations” are sincerely connected to the grid, so it’s vital to him that something claiming to be “sun-powered art” absolutely uses practical solar cells in preference to merely speculating approximately how the cells might be used, or using the cells simplest as decoration. To achieve this is greenwashing that erases the possibility of using sun substances to find out about bodily craft and possible solutions to climate trade, he says.


In Nathanson’s magnificence, the students — who don’t want prior engineering enjoy — used upcycled sun cells from Jameco that came in a selection of shapes. The sound project had 3 components: build the sound circuit, construct the sun panel, and then join the two. To execute this, the students discovered engineering standards (like collection and parallel circuits, volts, and amps, calculating output) and technical abilties (along with the way to use a soldering iron).


I have been working in the field of SEO and content marketing since 2014. I have worked with over 500 clients and more than 100 websites. I started blogging in 2012 and have now made my first steps into the world of freelancing. In my spare time, I like to read, cook or listen to music.