Explore the Performance

Performance begins at dusk

During the day, Solar Collector gathers energy from the sun as well as human expression in the form of patterns created on this website. At dusk, the sculpture puts those together into a performance of light.

Act I – Today’s patterns

The first part of the performance (we think of it as Act I) displays all of the patterns collected since yesterday’s performance started. Each pattern is displayed for 20 seconds. In order to separate the patterns, the sculpture displays all dark, then all bright, briefly in between each pattern.

Act II – Global patterns

After the day’s patterns are through, Act II begins – a performance of the sculpture’s global patterns. The global patterns are created by pulling together all the patterns ever submitted, and mathematically finding common groupings. Then the sculpture slowly transitions between these patterns, in a slow, gradceful movement between one pattern and the next.

Repetition and end

The entire performance – Act I then Act II – may repeat a number of times during the evening. The repetition depends on the number of patterns and amount of energy collected that day. When the shafts use up the energy that each has collected, they fade out one by one. So the performance continues until the last shaft senses that it has used up its energy, and fades away.


By moving a series of simple sliders, you can create a pattern to submit. The light patterns are a combination of many sine waves, which give the light patterns a feel of graceful flow. Moving the sliders changes the wavelength of the different sine waves, changing the feel of the pattern.

The mathematics of sine waves describe many natural phenomena, including sound, light, and water waves. The length of days through the seasons, as the earth moves around the sun, can also be described by sine waves.

Solar Collector is currently undergoing maintenance. Please contact us to be notified when nightly performances begin again.
Thank you for your patience.