System for shaping wood through lightning strikes by Craig Barrow

Published on November 20, 2012

A public artefact focusing and directing electrical energy from lightning strikes. When struck the seven-meter high system sends a current down an arranged set of stainless steel forks drilled into a large piece of wood. In the same way as when a tree is struck, the current takes the most electrically conductive route to the earth, splitting the wood down regions of sap-rich cells and air pockets rapidly expanded at colossal force by the passing current. What is revealed are beaten and battered forms, capturing the intensity and energy of the split second lightning strike. Situated upon isolated hilltops, the object focuses our attention on these monumental and unrestrained forces of nature and connects us with this unprecedented, fleeting moment of power.

The conductor and fork system is made from varying stainless steel components, with the electrically insulative joints and structural components made from porcelain and glass re-enforced plastic tubing. On the very top of the rod sits a handcrafted copper tip, reminiscent of traditional lightning conductors.

Showcased at Up and Beyond, the University of Brighton Faculty of Arts and Design Graduate Show, 9-14 June 2012 and New Designers (Week 2), Islington Business Design Centre, London, 4-7 July 2012.

Craig Barrow


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