Plasma Project (The Annihilation of Time, Space, and...)
is a photographic installation that examines the intersection of technological inventions and art created in a profit-driven culture, shaping American society's human condition. Utilizing a Pepper's Ghost holographic display powered by a Tesla coil, the project aims to recreate the sensations before Edward Muybridge, leading him to invent the camera shutter and exhibit Nikola Tesla's ambitious attempts to power the world with wireless energy. The installation’s tesla coil frequencies play Irma Thomas’ 1964 debut album song, "Wish Someone Would Care,” written through experiencing what these inventors and businessmen had set before her. The work is a direct visual response to Rebecca Solnit's essay, The Annihilation of Time and Space. She has provided the research and story telling on Muybridge and the railways, without this essay, this project would have not been thought up.
Muybridge's journey toward the invention of the camera shutter was fueled and funded by the Southern Pacific railways. The cadence and time-warping perception Muybridge felt while traveling west drew a desire to capture a photograph at the speed of light. The creation of the shutter, gradually becoming the cinema, was directly pursued by major railway founder Leeland Stanford who monopolized the pursuits of the American West to create industry and capital over the prosperity of its people. Along with the glory and rush of the road inspiring the industry men to seize the land, their inventions dictated how individuals would later perceive the passage of time.
Opposed to Muybridge's goals, Inventor Nikola Tesla's hope of wirelessly powering the world was never satisfied. Stuck working for Thomas Edison, Tesla could never actualize his advancements from the power of revenue that Edison’s direct current electricity model had, still in place today. The Tesla coil uses an oscillating magnetic field, high voltage energy, and a spark gap to visually reveal air molecule electrons emitting photons of light and plasma. The molecules colliding produce audible frequencies that let us perceive energy. Nearing the end of Tesla's life, he began to admit that he could see the air around him.
A 22 year old Irma Thomas sings, “Time, time waits for no one, and I wish, how I wish someone would care,” through the frequencies of the Tesla coil, intending to persuade the viewers to do just that. The Plasma Project invites viewers to reflect on the complex interplay between technology, culture, and creativity. It is a call to action to critically examine the systems that shape America and to use creativity and ingenuity to imagine new possibilities for the future.
This is a project in the prototype stage, it is intended to work as a plasma powered zoetrope/holographic display. I hope to continue.