These forms are based on a family of geometric shapes known as space-filling tesselations.Their nesting capabilitycan cantiliver one section from another by an adjoining plane, alowing one half of the form to hang out in space. On the left, The Cloud Chamber contains an apparatus for seeing cosmic rays from outer space, in real time. The Chamber on the right is lined with scotchlite, a fabric lined with microbeads for reflecting light. Both works were presented in, 'Lucy Pullen: The Cloud Chamber and Related Work' at the The Henry Art Gallery in Seattle from March 26 - July 6, 2011.




The Cloud Chamber (2011)

48 x 48 x 96 inches

aluminum, scotchlite




The two shells present an identical exterior. One was made with Tara Precision in Saanich. The other was made with Kontraptioneering in Greenpoint Brooklyn. On the interior one shell presents a rarely glimpsed view of the natural world we call dark matter. The other has a siver lining that responds to repositioning and light.


The Cloud Chamber (2011)

48 x 48 x 96 inches

aluminum, apparatus, cosmic rays




The apparatus consists of a circulating system for isopropol alcohol; trough, float, heat coil and pump; an anodized copper plate, alcohol feed and return; a two stage cooling system, refridgerant,and blue foam; a heat compressor, circuit board, thermal pane, LED and steel frame; within a polished aluminum shell. l










The shell is reinforced by a steel frame that holds the components of the apparatus in place. The apparatus runs on 110v. A timer turns the apparatus on at 10 AM and off at 8:45PM. A fan keeps air circulating inside the machine. The electrical system was designed by the electrical engineer for the department of physics and astronomy.





A thermal pane made in Scranton Pennsylvania by a company that makes windsields for aeroplanes prevents ice from forming on the top of the sculpture. A handspan separates this pane from the cold plane below. The viewing chamber is lit by a strip of LED lights acound the perimeter.The cold plane is 1/2 inch thick aynodized copper with a channel routered on the back, where refridgerant circulates through a copper tube from a two stage compressor.











At the top of the environmental chamber is a channel a small heating coil that keeps isopropol alcohol warm. Vapor from the alcohol rises and falls as it cools, forming a super-sensitive layer over the cold plane. Cosmic rays ionize paths through the field of fog. The apparatus was made in the detector lab in the department of physics and astronomy at the UVic between 2008 and 2011.





My collaborator says, 'we know cosmic rays exist, and know nothing of the interval.' Cloud chambers developed in the 1950's look remotely like air conditioners. The Cloud Chamber on pernanent public display in the Elliot Lecture Hall of the Department of Physics ans Astronomy at the University of Victoria in British Columbia combines two distinctly Canadian preocupations; conceptual art and the weather. Between ideas of right and wrong there is a field, says Rumi, I'll meet you there.