Photograph: Andy Paradise, 2012
From 28 July – 23 September 2012 Tate Modern in London is the home to “Little Sun” a project by Olafur Eliasson, part of the London 2012 Festival. Purpose of the project is to raise awareness about the need to improve access to energy for the 1.6 billion people who do not have access to the electrical grid. On Saturday nights, the lights go off at Tate Modern for two hours and you are invited to look at the works of art in the suite of galleries devoted to the Surrealist and Realist collections, using only the light of Little Sun.
Olafur Eliasson describes the project (also see video below):
Light is for everyone – it determines what we do and how we do it. This is why Frederik Ottesen and I have developed the solar-powered lamp Little Sun. One part of the artwork is the lamp and the activities it enables. The other is the successful distribution of Little Sun in off-grid communities, its journey from production to usage.
In everyday life, it is important that we critically engage in global initiatives and local contexts. Our actions have consequences for the world. Little Sun is a wedge that opens up the urgent discussion about bringing sustainable energy to all from the perspective of art
(Photography above: Left: Merklit Mersha, 2012, Right: Michael Tsegaye, 2012)
The device itself has the diameter of 12 cm and weights 120 g. It stores 5 hours of natural light which equals to 5 hours of Little Sun light. It has a lifespan of 3 years before it needs a battery replacement and offers 90% savings over 3 years compared to kerosene lamps. Little Sun makes light for living – for cooking, eating, for reading, writing, for looking, for living, learning, earning. It costs €20 + shipping and can be purchased here or at the Tate.