»Blue-Green-Machine« by Norman White | i |
creators: Norman White
title: Blue-Green-Machine
year: 1967

installation, electronic

Plexiglass, neon bulbs, electronics

artwork type: installation
collections: Collection Norman White

Since 1966 Norman White had been creating electronic works that generated patterns and sequences by means of mechnical processes; these were visualised in turn by light bulbs.

Blue-Green-Machine creates visible light patterns using two drums that are moved by a motor, although they move at slightly different speed. They are encased in copper foil and above them there is a layer of plastic, from which White cut out a pattern so that a simple handcrafted form of programming evolves. This is implemented by spingy fingerst hat move against the drums; they are connected on the outside to 8 × 8 small neon light bulbs in a rectangular field, as well as on the inside to an electric network that also supplies the light bulbs. When one of the fingers comes into contact with the copper foil, the corresponding bulb lights up. As a consequence of the two drums, two patterns develop, oberlapping and running across the rectangular field of light bulbs. The idfferent speeds create a very complex result, meaning that the recipient can only read the two simple basic patterns with considerable effort.

In this work White realised an interest in Gestalt perception that he had already investigated in London from 1964 to 1966 in oil paintings such as those of Wireway series. In Wireway, simple patterns of forms intertwine to such an extend that the impression produced resembles a labyrinth.

Figuratively, the forms were reminiscent of images of cables, so that a direct comparison develops to the visible reverse of Blue-Green-Machine. White’s starting point for electrokinetic art can also be explained by the visual attraction of the cables, therefore, which he includes consistently as a formal element in many works. Continuity is recognisable here as opposed to any break with his artistic experiments as a painter. (Herzogenrath & Lähnemann 2009:19)

Size: 36,8 × 31,4 × 14 cm


Norman White

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