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Eindhoven: Day 2

August 1st, 2008 · 3 Comments · Travel

I left Eindhoven for Utrecht yesterday, the train ride took about an hour. Before leaving, I stopped in and saw the Van Abbe Museum (which I continually read as ‘wannabe museum’) and also the Centrum Kunstlicht in de Kunst (Artificial Light in Art Center).

The Van Abbe Museum was really cool, the building was clean and modern, overlooking the river. Some of my favorite pieces were “Aktiengesellschaft” by Maria Eichhorn, in which she created a public corporation as a work of art; “Repetition” by Artur Žmijewski, a recreation of the famous Standford Prison Experiment using unemployed Polish men–who are apparently a good analog for Stanford grad students–as subjects; and Work No. 317 by Martin Creed, which is a rising or falling chromatic scale played by the elevator as it ascends or descends. I wish all elevators sang.

The Artificial Light Museum also had a lot of neat pieces. Unfortunately I didn’t get the names of many of them, and photography wasn’t allowed. My favorite featured two large, eccentric rotating discs (one within the other), with a spotlight and rotating mirrors and colored filters mounted to the disc. The filters produced different colors based on the angle at which the light struck them, and there were light-sensitive resistors at the base that determined the direction of rotation of the discs and the position of the filters, providing a feedback mechanism where the machine determined its own orientation.

EDIT: Update-I emailed the museum and the artist is a Finn named Esa Laurema, the work is an untitled piece from 1994.

In the same building as the light building (which was once the first Phillips lightbulb factory) was an exhibition on the historical methods of manufacturing lightbulbs. They offered a guided tour at 2 pm. I got there somewhat later, but the cashier told me that they had not done a tour in any case, because nobody who was interested had come. The tour guide, a friendly gentleman of about 60, was still there. Even though he didn’t speak any English, he was very eager to tell me about the history of lightbulb manufacture. With the cashier translating as much as he could, the guide talked rapidly and excitely about carbon fillaments, glass blowing, and vaccum pumps. I always find it sad when somebody is excited to talk about something and nobody else cares, so I tried to pay attention and show as much interest as possible.


3 Comments so far ↓

  • Ramy

    I like the paying attention part. Besides, Enthusiasm is such a rarity these days, it’s hardly ever seen. About lightbulbs, no less–possibly the most important invention of the last 150 years–I think it’s well warranted. I am curious to see how your adventures into the OSS movement proceed, and whether you will meet some ill fate at the hands of Microsoft-sponsored mecenaries or Bill Gates’ personal thugs. Beware!

  • Brian Mc

    Your description of pieces in the Artificial Light Museum was very good. It must have been a challenge to convey in words what you saw. “A picture is worth….”

  • Monochrom and day 101

    [...] of the corporate anthems with personal resonance belonged to the Dutch firm Phillips. Earlier this year, I visited Eindhoven, birthplace of Phillips and visited their first lightbulb factory there. [...]

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