(all images from John Michael Kohler Arts Center and John Grade)
Capacitator is the latest installation of artist Jhon Grade , which is an interactive and kinetic installation comissioned by John Michael Kohler Arts Center for its UNCOMMON GROUND exhibition series.
Capacitor, a massive coil inspired by organic and geometric forms, physically responds to the weather patterns outside the Arts Center. A sensor on the roof of the building sends information about a change in wind intensity or a variation in temperature to the sculpture. Grade’s team calculated and keyed statistical means based on Sheboygan’s weather patterns over the past one hundred years into a mechanized controller. The degree to which the current wind and temperature patterns differ from the established means determines the brightness and movement of the one hundred sculptural components. Changes in temperature are signified by the light levels, and changes in the wind are indicated by the movement. The rows and stacks of the individual forms will brighten and dim, compress and release so that, as the artist states, “The whole of the sculpture will appear to be very slowly breathing.”
The forms comprising Capacitor are inspired by coccolithophore, a one-celled marine plant that lives in the upper layers of the ocean. These photosynthesizing organisms are important because they remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which in turn helps the planet to stay cool. Each fluted shape in the sculpture represents an individual organism. In Grade’s sculpture, the clusters are fueled by Sheboygan’s weather patterns.