FIELD by Richard Box, a major land art installation of 1,301 fluorescent tubes covering an area of 3,600 square meters. The bulbs were 'planted' in the shadow of electricity pylons and each evening at dusk they flicker into life, powered only by the electric fields generated by overhead powerlines. FIELD captured the imagination of thousands of visitors pulling in the attention of the national media as word spread during it's 3 week life span in 2004.
A fluorescent tube glows when an electrical voltage is set across it. The electric field inside the tube excites atoms of mercury gas, making them emit ultraviolet light. The UV light strikes the phosphor coating on the glass tube, making it glow. Because powerlines 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.
We see giant rows of pylons across the countryside but how often do we make the journey to stand at any proximity to them, pitting our scale against these great architectural forms and the comparative vastness of the landscape. FIELD guided us the top of a hill from where we saw out west to Bristol and across the Severn towards Wales. There was something of the demonic 'end of the rainbow' in the air.
FIELD, documented by John Minton went on to win the Bombay Sapphire prize in 2004 and today continues to represent FIELD in exhibitions and galleries across Europe.
Adrian Utley (Portishead)
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