Liquid Light

One of my first kinetic light sculpture commissions was by Olivia Coqulin, the owner of the first discotheque in New York City, the Cheetah. When I met Mr Coqulin at his establishment, we discussed what he had in mind and then he gave me a tour of the just opened club.

It had a projection booth and in the projection booth was a single slide European slide projector. In the film gate of the projector was a strange looking 2" by 2" plastic chamber (actually three chambers) with hollow flexible tubing attached to two sides. Mr Coqulin explained it was for projecting colored oils onto the projection screen. He explained that it really didn't work and gave it to me to see if I could make it work. In reality it was an ill conceived piece of plastic crap, however it did give me the idea for my liquid filled 35 mm slides. (I did get a commission to build a "table" lamp which had color changing and shape changing interior images).

It took a bit of figuring and experimenting to figure out how to actually make a "hollow" 35 mm slide, but the idea I came up with worked ! I worked out that a slide the thickness of three pieces of Kodak carousel slide glass would fit a Kodak Carousel 80 count slide tray and into the projector. I created my hollow glass slide by taking three pieces of slide glass and making a sandwich of them. I then proceeded to silicone together three sides of the "sandwich". After slipping the centerpiece of slide glass out of the "sandwich" I then siliconed the third side shut with a very small opening through which I was able to insert liquids into the slide with a hypodermic needle. I used mineral oil dyed with aniline dyes, to this I added water and glycerin with water based food coloring. When I was satisfied with what I had made I sealed the last opening.