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An Interactive Site Shows You What Light Is Like Around the World

Interact with natural light, space, and time across the globe in visual designer Daria Jelonek's 'PHÕS.'

by DJ Pangburn
Sep 17 2015, 2:15pm

Phōs installation view, courtesy of the artist

In Jorge Luis Borges’s short story "The Aleph," the Argentine author and librarian imagined a spinning iridescent sphere that served as a window through which the characters could see the the infinity of the universe with perfect clarity. While visual designer Daria Jelonek hasn’t done quite that (yet), she no doubt would have impressed Borges with her web project PHÕS, an interactive site that deals with light, space, and time.

Using a combination of web design, video, photography and the concept of broadcasting, Jelonek’s PHÕS shows 24 hours of light in different places of the world.

PHÕS - Official Trailer from Daria Jelonek on Vimeo.

Jelonek describes it as an homage to natural light and an “aesthetic experience of light.” From a laptop, viewers can choose to look at light in various arrangements as it strikes the atmosphere, bodies of water and the walls inside rooms.

Phōs was recently exhibited at C.A.R (Contemporary Art Ruhr) at the world heritage site Zeche Zollverein in Essen, Germany.

“You find 4 computers facing North, East, South and West, and a compass on the floor that shows you how the space around you is [oriented],” Jelonek tells The Creators Project. “The compass also shows the current position of the sun. As you are able to choose between three [types of] matter—liquid, gas, and solid—you find some postcards on the wall that represent [them].”

Sky in Muelheim, Germany on March 22, 2015 at 9:10am, courtesy of the artist

“In contrast to electric power, natural light needs matter to become visible,” she writes. “The concept behind PHÕS is the installation of cameras that broadcast live the appearance of light on the three main physical states of matter that are substantial for the different appearance of light.”

Phōs installation view, courtesy of the artist

Jelonek says that a third factor “determines and fulfills the appearance of light”—location and view direction (or, aspect). “Hence PHÕS films light in the four main compass directions: north, east, south, west,” Jelonek explains.

Sunlight inside a New York room on March 22, 2015 at 6:57 am, courtesy of the artist

“Because of cosmologic and physiologic circumstances, light changes it's appearance from moment to moment,” she adds. “Visiting the website at the same time on the next day appears different.”

PHÕS - website presentation from Daria Jelonek on Vimeo.

“To make this unique momentariness experienceable it is possible to interactively create a unique light picture that covers the factors of matter, compass direction and time.”

Jelonek says an app is currently in the planning process. It will use a smartphone’s integrated compass so that viewers can move around and change their viewing direction.

Visit Daria Jelonek’s website to check out more projects.

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