This pure research project, funded jointly by the French Government (via La Villette) and the Electricity Board of France, EDF, sought to create visible light forms and to understand the nature and behaviour of how they can be predicted from high voltage (20,000V) electrical discharge.
In the short term, if the preliminary experimentations were successful, a 20 metre high ‘cascade annulaire’ would be installed as part of the animation within the central façade bioclimatique of the Science Museum of La Villette. In the long term, the objective is to control light three dimensionally.
This work was undertaken in 1986 by Jean-Louis L’hermitte (Artist), François Bastien (Physicist) and Ian Ritchie (Architect), with the assistance of EDF de Clamart, Air Liquide, Alcatel and Schott France.
At the end of the preliminary research, within an 8 metre tall glass tube, repeatable forms were achieved at very low atmospheric pressures. The full physical understanding of these phenomena requires further research.