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Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, Grand Rapids, Michigan 1990

Electrical substation

Breaker box
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This installation took place in a building located beside an electrical sub-station. Our goal was to measure the exact amount of power available to the building. To this end, we connected a series of resistance wires to the gallery ceiling grid. These wires glowed red hot when current passed through them. They were anchored to the floor with plastic bags filled with water, which allowed the resistors to expand and contract, maintaining their tension. During this installation, as each ciruit reached its maximum load, we rerouted remaining circuits to the gallery space until all available power was harnessed. The total resistance that the electrical system of this building could handle was 23.739 ohms

Installation - interior