‘FIELD’ Art Installation Richard Box
Film created by John Minton
People often ask me about how my interest in the unseen energies of electromagnetic fields began. I would pinpoint to a direct experience from this Installation from Artist Richard Box, entitled ‘FIELD,’ created in the February of 2008 with some 1301 fluorescent tubes that were ‘planted’ in a grid under some electricity pylon cables on site between Bristol and Bath.
The tubes were lit up by the leakage of electric resonance generated by overhead power lines.
In 2002 Box was Artist in Residence at the University of Bristol Physics Department and worked with internationally recognised Professor Denis Henshaw, whose has studied at length the health effects associated with proximity to power lines. Henshaw comments:
‘It’s very creative and it illustrates graphically that power lines do indeed have these electrical fields around them. Even when bulbs are on the way out, and start flashing or flickering in their sockets, they still light up under the power lines.’
‘FIELD’ was an interactive piece, the lights would flicker, go out and buzz as you got closer to them because the human body became a better conductor for the energy leakage than the tubes. This would sometimes result in hair standing slightly on end.
Richard Box Explains ‘A fluorescent tube glows when an electrical voltage is set up across it. The electric field set up inside the tube excites atoms of mercury gas, making them emit ultraviolet light. This invisible light strikes the phosphor coating on the glass tube, making it glow. Because power lines are typically 400,000 volts, and Earth is at an electrical potential voltage of zero volts, pylons create electric fields between the cables they carry and the ground’.
This interactive piece both highlighted Emfs mesmerising and concerning nature and was definitely an eye opening moment of how we could be affected by these invisible energies.