Project: Inspirit



Concept: The artist-designer proposes by way of a scientific apparatus, to reproduce on demand and to aesthetically install a scaled natural phenomenon – the rainbow, at the epicenter of Biopolis, a bio-science research mega-facility that comprises seven buildings. The rainbow is universally a symbol of hope, of fortune, of joy, of grace, of reward, of optimism, and of serendipity. The rainbow is one of the most beautiful manifestations of nature. The rainbow draws a sense of wonder and warmth from us when we see it. A scaled rainbow, reproduced at the busy centre of Biopolis, symbolizes the hope and dreams of Man, as Man uses Science to produce a better tomorrow. The work engages the scientists visually and emotionally, inspires their efforts, encapsulates their dreams, and represents the essence of Biopolis and the reason for existence of the research complex and the scientists and administrators.



Site: Epicenter of Biopolis



Scientific Principles: A strong unilateral source of light is directed at series of small prisms. The source of light may be the sun, collected via s sun-scope and focused at the prisms. These prisms may move at speed in a spatial configuration or be static. The series of prisms may be water droplets produced by jet-injection, or may be fine specially cut glass or glass substitutes aligned together. The artist investigates the best conditions and the best machinations and instrumentation to reproduce the rainbow.


The principle of dispersion is white light is composed of seven colors - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet -  that additively constitute white light. White light, on entering incident in a denser material, undergoes refraction. The different light colors, each comprising different wavelengths along the electromagnetic spectrum, deviate differently depending on the wavelength – red the most, and violet the least.


The challenge of the project is to reproduce the curve bow and the floating diaphanous semblance of the rainbow that are its hallmarks.



Previous Investigation: There has been no prior research and installation of a rainbow. Prisms which disperse incident light has been known since the discovery by Issac Newton, and the installation of single prisms with no grand relations to each other, and  that merely disperse light on one plane has been used occasionally in the design of interiors. The exploration of other natural phenomena, such as amplifying the earth’s seismic movements, and attracting the strike points of lightning, have been carried out by earth-art and informational artists, and are considered projects that have contributed significantly to Art progression.




Light-source or sun-scoop.

A multitude of prisms or prism-equivalents, such as water-droplets.




The artist-designer will consult his associates - a highly experienced meteorologist and a highly qualified physicist.




The Inspirit Experiment


To create a rainbow momentarily in the early morning and late afternoon requires a judicious direction of water droplets into the sunny sky, but to constantly create a rainbow of the desired size throughout the day in an aesthetic display setting at the epicenter of Biopolis demands unique settings.


The establishment of these unique settings at an affordable cost is a scientific and artistic challenge.


The critical challenge is directing a white light beam at an angle incident to the drops of water of sufficient power intensity that the rainbow created is satisfactorily perceptible to the audience. To enhance the perception of the rainbow by decreasing diffuse scattered light, the artist plants the artwork at a dark spot, possibly beneath a large tree or a shelter. To generate a low-cost and environmentally-green consistent work, the artist relies on a sun scoop that collects solar energy regardless of the position of the sun in the sky.


The sun scoop consists of a wide concave mirror dish of mirror that collects sunlight and redirects the light at the overhanging central mirror (that is positioned at the focal point of the convergence of the light beams), that in turn reflects the light into a bottom 45 degree mirror (periscope-concept), that in turn directs the light widely at an angle less than 42 degrees incident to the water droplets across the horizon.


What the artist-designer has not established is the size of the sun scoop that is needed to fulfill the task. During overcast days, the light illumination may be insufficient in producing a visually satisfying rainbow. Given the choice of augmenting the natural light with a powerful artificial white light source, the artist proposes omitting this option, instead allowing the artwork to fade in and out in line with the brightness of the sun, and forgoing a moonlight rainbow. This decision is consistent with Inspirit as primarily an artwork of Nature’s physical laws.


The larger the water droplets falling, the brighter the rainbow formed. The more spherical the water droplets falling, the more regular in brightness the rainbow formed. The water droplets are released from nozzles dotting the bottom of a stainless steel hollow arch within which a stream of water is piped through. The water droplets cascade down and are pooled and recycled up the pipes. Surrounding the pool is a continuous ring perimeter seat for passers-by of the epicenter to seat on.


A small allocated budget of 8,000 SGD to conduct a feasibility study to determine the Inspirit Rainbow can be created as conceptualized. The budget will go to the construction of a model sun scope and a model arching water delivery tubing, and the use of experimental measurement instruments such as the lux meter. The artist will waive artist fees for the feasibility study, and will complete the experiment within one month.


Only when the findings of the feasibility study are completed, can the artist-designer identify all the art-making challenges and place an educated estimate on the cost of surmounting them affordably.