Alex Vermeulen

'SOH19', 2001 - 2006

Location: Next to the Vertigo building

From 2001 to 2006 the artist Alex Vermeulen works together with students of Applied Physics on a piece of art on the TU/e campus.

88 black plastic eggs, each equipped with a solar panel, float in an 1800 square meter pond. How much power the solar panels can generate depends on the available light. That power is used to create a large magnetic field. This field then serves to lift up a sculpture placed under a cupola in the middle of the pond. How high it will rise depends on the elements. On the sun (the element of fire), the wind (the air), and the surf (of water), which all influence the orientation of the solar panels. The element of earth is within the solar panels, which just like sand mainly contain the chemical element of silicon.

The object is self-supporting in energy. At night the large Buddha wil disappear under water, while on a summer afternoon it will move up and down majestically at a height of about three meters. It clearly illustrates the potential of generating sustainable energy from sunlight.

Eggs are a returning motive in Vermeulen's work. They symbolize creation and life itself. In this case the eggs must work together to provide the energy that will let the large sculpture appear and then float. A kind of daily life cycle.

Located on a highly visible spot for everybody who approaches the TU/e campus from downtown Eindhoven and from the station, it has an impact on all residents of the city. The banks of the river Dommel are a technological center in fine natural surroundings, and therefore also serve as a recreational zone. Within that zone this work by Vermeulen forms a powerful image of the merging of technology, sustainability and art. It proves that technology is fun and that sustainable sources of energy are viable alternatives to conventional ones.

On a morning in July 2010 the perspex cupola suddenly burst to pieces. After consultation with the artist the arrangement was slightly adjusted, omitting the cupola covering the Buddha, but using a small fountain.

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