Brightest Light From the Darkest Day, 2011
Wood, music box motions, digital video projection, x 40 x 36 x 38", Duration Variable
Fraunhofer lines are dark gaps within the visible solar spectrum. They are named after Joseph von Fraunhofer, inventor of the spectroscope, an instrument used to study properties of light. In 1814, Fraunhofer discovered 574 dark lines within the solar spectrum. It was later discovered that each line corresponded to a specific chemical element absorbed by the outer layers of the sun. Today there are several thousand known gaps, still called Fraunhofer lines in his honor.
Here, I have transcribed Fraunhofer’s original 574 invisible lines into a musical score, played by a “solar powered” music box.
The music box runs on solar panels, energized by projected digital images of the sun provided by www.tomorrownowforever.com, a website of live feed stills of the sunrise, wherever it is currently rising. The images of the sun that are powering the box are taken from the twenty-four hours surrounding the 2010 Winter Solstice.