PROTOTYPE,1971
28 x 15in

It responds to ambient light and is crepusclar: flashing two flourescent tubes in a chaotic duet, only in semi-darkness. The frequency of the flashing is determined by switches and variable resistors driven by clock motors. I built a glass showcase around it because it uses lethal voltages.

High-res image

When I was considering this circuit, I was concerned about the effect of flashing flourescent tubes on their lifespan. Several lighting engineers had told me that the tubes would burn out quickly when subjected to my method of lighting them. I was putting a high-voltage spike across the ends of the tube, a process appropriately called 'sledgehammering'. The machine ran for a couple of years before I found out that the engineers meant that the high voltage would blow the filaments out of the tubes, the ends would turn black, and they would no longer work in a conventional application. I knew that, because it happened within minutes. Prototype still works fine today.


This is a bone detector commissioned by the Wonders of the World Museum in Port Costa, CA. Gladstone, the museum director did not pay for it in cash but insisted that I take a burping bowl made by his assistant as payment.


This is an experiment in stroboscopic lighting. Strobing a flourescent tube produces a more gentle effect than a flashtube.