Cloud Cover

Halogen track lights were connected to a light sensor outdoors. The sensor noticed how much light was available and communicated this to a rheostat that adjusted the indoor lighting to mirror the available light outside, based on cloud cover. Under the low lights I held a public reading of a chapter from In the Aura of a Hole —about mercury.

Weather affects our emotional well-being directly—people living with less light get S.A.D. But we also get sad thinking about the irreversible modification of our physical environment, in part from under-regulated energy industries and encouragement of massive consumption. Cloud Cover reverses the premise of electric light—to provide light when it’s dark— to make a link between what’s happening to our weather outside and what we are able to continue to do inside.

2006. Halogen lights, light sensor, microcontroller, public reading. Exhibited in Pathogeographies, curated by FeelTank Chicago, at Gallery 400, University of Illinois at Chicago.

Thanks to Ed Bennett for constructing the sensor and microcontroller.