Solar Helix

(2021) Interactive data-driven light sculpture
Acrylic, wood, data, LEDs, Arduino, LCD screen, custom software

Solar Helix is an interactive light sculpture driven by the solar wind speed data. It consists of a circular structure that allows light to travel in a spiral orbit from the outer perimeter to the inside. Data from the last year of the solar wind (proton speed) have been collected and converted into bright colours that continuously feed the sculpture in a perpetual rotation. The speed of rotation of light is constantly decreasing and results in a very slow rotation. The viewer has the option to “touch” the void in the centre of the circle and reactivate the sculpture giving the light a fast rotation speed. At the base of the sculpture, there is a screen with a minimalist plot ​​of the solar wind as well as the date and the value that drives the sculpture at the specific time.

The circle, the archetypal symbol of life, receives energy from the sun, the source of energy of our close world, the solar system. This energy is transformed within the circle in a perpetual motion that constantly changes colours, as the energy of the sun feeds life and motion on earth, creating a diverse ecosystem. Human intervenes in this system, in an intervention that looks like a scene from a utopian future, making it regain lost energy and movement.

• The solar wind data used in the project cover the period from October 25 2020, to October 25 2021.
• A total of 506,876 values ​​are used (measurement per 1 minute).
• The total duration of the “reproduction” of the data lasts about 22 hours.
• Data retrieved from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) mission (https://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/).