michael jantzen

michael jantzen

Santa Fe, NM, US


The Sun Shaped Column

­­­­­­The Sun Shaped Column

(A solar powered kinetic public art sculpture)


Michael Jantzen

© 2014


The Sun Shaped Column is a solar powered kinetic public art sculpture made of painted steel. It is approximately 80 feet tall, and 20 feet wide. The column is hollow in the center and open at the base so visitors can walk into the center of the sculpture, and look up through it to the sky above.

Five different sized segments of the column have been cut out and mounted onto electric gear motors. The gear motors are powered by the sun through a ring of solar cells, which are mounted around the perimeter of the top of the column. During the day, each of the five segments of the column slowly rotate in different directions in and out of phase with the perimeter of the column.

The speed and direction of the rotating segments is directly based on the amount of solar power available on any day. If the sun is shining brightly, the segments rotate faster, and slower on a cloudy day. The specific direction of the rotation is based on the random light level variations. If the light level drops to a predetermined point, a specific segment will stop rotating in one direction, and start again in a different direction when the light level is increased.

The random shape shifting is visible both on the outside of the sculpture, and on the inside, as the visitors look up through the center of the column. Even though the segments stop rotating at night, the sculpture is illuminated with solar powered lights on the exterior, and on the interior of the Sun Shaped Column.

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Status: Unbuilt