Sun Mutations is the symbiotic interconnection of two separate projects. It investigates a Rube-Goldberg-like transfer of energy between media, from sunlight, to data, to light, to energy, to data, and back to light. The aesthetic forms of these transductions reflect a human desire to not only control and harness the power of the sun, but time itself.
Part 1: Burnt by the Sun: What happens when one points a video camera directly at the sun? Does it damage the camera? We decided to act upon our curiosity by not only pointing cameras at the sun for extended periods of time, but also recording the footage as the cameras recorded their deaths.
We obtained a telescope that was programmed to follow the stars and set it to follow our closest star, the sun. We then mounted (discarded) video cameras to the telescope, pressed record, and then waited, often for the sun to complete its full path through the sky. The footage we collected was used in our project.
Part 2: Transduction: Solar panels are designed to be used outdoors in the line of sight of the sun, but can they serve other practical/creative functions within indoor environments? Transduction is both a technical and creative investigation into the low-light design and usage of solar panel arrays.
Different configurations of polycrystalline solar cells were constructed and were tested in different indoor lighting conditions, including different luminosities and wavelengths. The output power of these experiments were measured, and additional electronics were added, until a configuration was created that could continuously power a microcontroller as it was projected upon by a video projector.
The footage obtained from Part 1 was projected onto a custom solar panel array and the power generated illuminated an RGB LED on the back of the array. It’s color was determined in real-time by the brightness of the projection.