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In this age of environmental anxiety, the act of switching a light bulb on or of becomes increasingly meaningful. In that spirit, here are five pieces of art about using light switches:

In this age of environmental anxiety, the act of switching a light bulb on or of becomes increasingly meaningful. In that spirit, here are five pieces of art about using light switches:

This simple idea from Tiffany Holmes at ecoviz.org was displayed at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicaco last month under the title darkSky.  Viewers are encouraged to turn these salvaged lamps on or off as they please. The resulting electricity consumption is displayed on a screen nearby. I'm guessing the purists can't resist turning all the lamps off, while the aesthetes can't resist turning them back on again. Of course the really smart purist would turn the tv monitor off as well.

Tue Greenfort's work has a nice, direct wit to it. Back in 2002 he created this untitled piece in Frankfurt [see right]. The switch gives people the ability to turn the street lamp off when it's not needed. (Image courtesy of Johann Koenig, Berlin).

Martin Creed's 2001 Turner Prize-winner  Work 227: The Lights Going On And Off. Obviously.

Robert Watt's 1965 piece Lightswitch, played with the notion of a light switch as an instrument to turn on a light to illuminate a space. In this case, when the switch is flipped, a light turned on inside the switch box itself, illuminating the two screw holes of the lightswitch face plate.

In 2002 the Gorbet Art Collective, Professor of Electrical Engineering Rob Gorbet and and husband-and-wife Matt and Susan Gorbet installed a piece of work called Power to the People or P2P to celebrate the 100th anniversary of a publicly-owned hydro electric company in Kitchener, Ontario. It consists of 125 light bulps and a panel with 125 switches on, each connected to one of the bulbs. The public can choose which light bulbs to illuminate.

Any other nominations?

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