Sunday, March 11, 2007

Soapbox Blog #2

Futures so bright I gotta wear shades:
A very brief history of Neon

From Diners, People and Places by Gerd Kittel

Neon is the 4th most abundant chemical element in the universe, although it only makes up about 0.0018% of the Earth's atmosphere. It is obtained through liquification and distillation of air.

The concept of barometric light was first investigated in 1675 when Jean Picard observed a light inside of a mercury barometer tube caused by static electricity after it was shaken. Using chemicals to create light was further investigated by German glassblower Heinrich Geissler in 1885. Geissler applied low voltages of electricity to glass tubes filled gas which eventually led to invention of vapor lamps. Finally, illumination of neon was discovered in 1902 by French chemist Georges Claude, who encapsulated the gas in glass and applied an electrical charge to create a lovely red glow.

Jellyfish by Eric Ehlenberger

Since its discovery, neon has been used as a way to grab attention and make statements. It's use ranges from a utilitarian form of advertising (coffee shops, diners, bars) to fine art. Artists such as Peter Freeman, Lili Lakich, Pacifico Palumbo have shown their neon art in galleries worldwide.

Here in the City of Angels, we even have a museum dedicated to this gorgeous gas; Museum of Neon Art. Although MONA is closed for relocation, driving around the city (or anywhere for that matter) at night is a great way to take in a huge variety of neon eye candy!


Blogger wee-fi said...

My eyes are trippin'!!

Neon lights are def. funky.

March 13, 2007  
Anonymous Jun said...

You should check out Tokyo at night. The seedy, slightly dangerous (if you can call it that) area in Shinjuku--Kabuki-cho, positively BLAZES with neon lights! Yow!

March 16, 2007  

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