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Light Abacus I Did you know that…? 

There is also a Light Abacus II and a Light Abacus III! You can find one in the main lobby of Peabody Hall, and the other on the first floor of Criser Hall, at the north end of the cashier windows. See if you can find them! Dale Eldred was born in 1933 and died in 1993. He played football for the University of Michigan.

Light Abacus I was installed in 1990 into the reception area of the second floor of Criser Hall. It is made of aluminum, glass, and diffraction grating. It is 6’2’’ x 15’1’’. Wow! That’s probably three times as tall as you are! Michael Lavery and Amy Mosher


Light and Motion Dale Eldred once said, "I want the sculpture to remind us all," he says "that our lives are inextricably linked to light, and that our universe is in constant motion." His art constantly changes with the motion of the sun, so you come back again and again and never see the same artwork twice. Artworks from earlier time periods look the same every time you view them, but contemporary artists like Eldred have created a revolution in the art world with their everchanging pieces!

What do you think…? 

How has art and our ideas about art changed over time? What is art to you? Can anything be art?

Dale Eldred said: "I bring to my art something I much admire in others-a sense of adventure. I would walk a long way to see something I had never seen before in my life." What do you think he means by this?

"Solar Field" Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art Kansas City, Missouri (1980)

Ancient Artwork In the past, light was used to figure out the time of day with devices called sundials.

Ancient Egyptian sundial

Throughout the ages, people have had a fascination with light. Ancient Egyptians and other cultures worshipped sun gods. Eldred once said, ““The worship of light is woven through the whole of human existence.”


Diffraction Reaction What is…? 

Diffraction: bending or spreading out of waves of light

A Prism: an object that disperses light into a spectrum (think rainbow colors!) through diffraction

Dale Eldred uses light to convey deeper messages about people and nature. His artwork uses diffraction to make this effect. “I have returned to this concept of light and shadow as entities directly related to the human condition.” -Eldred

“Light Garden”-Princess Anne Commons Gateway Park, Virginia Beach (1988)

Diffraction in Action The popular band Pink Floyd used diffraction through a prism as their cover art on their album “Dark Side of the Moon.”

Diffraction does not always occur through a prism or a solid object. Diffraction naturally occurs when sunlight passes through clouds.


Do-It-Yourself Diffraction What do you think light is? We’ve talked a lot about how other people view light, from ancient times until present day. Now it’s your turn to think about it. Draw what you think of when you think of light! If you want a challenge, try drawing light diffracting through a prism (rememberrainbow colors!).


Light abacus  
Light abacus  

Midterm Copy