Lichtenberg

Lichtenberg
Still Image
Nicolas Strappini
My work involves the documentation of physical science experiments with a view to assessing their aesthetic potential. I have been exploring the possibilities of using electricity as an artistic tool. Using wooden and metallic constructions I have been charging up plastic surfaces with static, then dusting powders on the surface, thus visualising the invisible Lichtenberg figures left in the plastic. These photopolymer etchings are a direct visual representation of electricity. The usage of mechanical contrivances echoes Jean Tinguely and Francis Picabia’s Neo-Dadaism. I have been studying the work of the German physicist Georg Christoph Lichtenberg. The Lichtenberg figures can be described by Maxwell’s equations. The powder dusting method I used to make artworks is also used in forensic science. Not dissimilar to my process, forensic scientists use a device that generates static charge, and the charge draws the dust from the print on to the black plastic. I am pictured at Cambridge University, specifically the Cavendish Laboratory, giving a talk in the style of a spectacular Enlightenment public lecture while demonstrating the process.