I am currently in the process of fabricating a large-scale contraption made out
of electrical and plumbing components, which intends to reference playfully the
showmanship employed by Victorian engineers in the Age of Invention
It will consist mainly of two separate towers – a mock hydroelectric generator
and a mock high-tension electric pylon, complete with genuine glass insulators
sourced from ESB Networks.
The idea is that the ‘hydroelectric generator’ transmits power to the pylon, which in turn sends power to an electric fan, which in turn drives a windmill, in an utterly pointless and futile manner. There will be a hidden, submersed pump in the ‘hydroelectric generator’ that will continuously circulate water to turn a waterwheel and other ancillary components.
This project aims to mimic the sense of wonder and delight in new inventions that was particularly prevalent in the Victorian Era. I am focusing particularly on Nikola Tesla – a Serbian-American inventor, mechanical engineer, and electrical engineer who epitomised the idea of the mad scientist. Yet despite being almost unknown today, he was a highly talented inventor who demonstrated creativity not only in the laboratory but also in the ways he promoted and funded his research.
Tesla’s discoveries include the AC system of electricity we use today, fluorescent light, laser beam, wireless communications and robotics. The project also playfully references the pursuit of sustainable energies that are so topical today.