Go With the Flow: Arty Wallpaper Shows Electricity Use

Although electricity is all around us, it is an invisible commodity that many of us think about only rarely. What if we could actually see electricity? Would it influence how much of it we use and which gadgets we choose to give up? Celine Marcq explores the use of electricity and our relationship with it in her project “Inconspicuous Matter.”

In a nutshell, the project consists of wallpaper and wall stickers that visually show the flow of electricity from nearby outlets and light switches. Marcq uses electricity as an artistic medium, taking it from an invisible utility to a living character in a fascinating work of art.

The electro-reactive paper lights up in an elegantly beautiful way to show (somewhat stylistically) how energy flows when we switch on a light or plug in an appliance. Beginning at the outlet or switch and moving away, the wallpaper displays glowing segments that flow slowly outward, representing the way that energy is coming from the source and moving out into the world.

Marcq’s goal was to embark on a study of electricity as a material research subject. She does that admirably, using electricity and materials in a combination that is both attractive and thought-provoking. Whether it would encourage anyone to use less electricity is questionable, however, since the display is beautiful enough to encourage anyone to want to see it again.

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See more in Home & Personal or under Gadgets. January, 2011.