Subliminary Artworks… what’s that?
BILL BELL was born in Pittsburgh and obtained a degree in Physics from Princeton University. Bell is best known for his “Lightstick” art pieces, vertical light units which pulse lights at a rate of five thousand times per second. With normal saccadic eye movement our eyes register these pulses and reassemble them into pictures. Bell’s Lightsticks can be found in unexpected places all over the world. One was located for years at the back of the Museum of Contemporary Art and could be seen when passing south on Alameda Street in Los Angeles.
“What appears to be a steady light is actually an array of 2,500 separate light-producing elements, each independently controlled,” the statement says. “The individual elements are flashed on and off in accordance with patterns stored in the memory of the device. The rapidity of the individual flashes of light are well beyond the capacity of the eyes to perceive, yet when one’s eyes are moving, each flash of light is retained at a different place on the retina and one sees the flashes strung together to form the programmed word” or image.”
Bell’s Subliminary Artworks appear in permanent public art displays. Marrying art with science, these works have appealed to a variety of organizations, including the Los Angeles Metro Gateway, The Exploratorium San Francisco, Roxbury Latin School’s Bauer Science Center, SONY Mediage Expo Tokyo, and Boston University’s Photonics Center. Seattle boasts an earlier Bell artwork in the Metro Station at University Street, and his “tech art” is part of private collections from Hong Kong to Beverly Hills.