New York-based designer Brecht Wright Gander has created a sconce using a flesh-like silicone composite that’s moved by motors to “emphasise the way even the most ordinary of homes often pulses with vitality.”
The lighting piece, called Flesh Light, is made from a flesh-like silicone material suspended between a series of steel mounts that expand and contract with motors that stretch the material so it appears as if it is performing a “scary dance”.
Brecht Wright Gander placed the device on a large, circular aluminum base with a central LED light shining through the silicon.
“This is a speculative design intended to draw attention to mechanical servants performing the thankless wondrous task of lighting,” Gander told Dezeen.
“By theatricalizing a synthetic life-form and assigning that life-form a task that we normally associate with inanimate objects (wall sconces), I emphasize the way even the most ordinary of homes often actually pulse with vitality.”
Originally presented via the Object Gallery at Art Basel 2023 in Miami, the object, like many of Gander’s works, crosses the line between functional and conceptual art.
The piece is 95 inches (2.4 meters) in diameter and 9 inches (22 centimeters) deep.
The series of motors positioned on the outside of the round base can be adjusted in speed, giving the movement of the silicone different rhythms, thus changing the “intensity” of the diffused light.
Gander was informed not only by what he saw as the subordinate role we place on inanimate objects, but also by the increasingly blurring lines between living beings and things, “as we race toward the unknown of artificial intelligence.”
The designer traces his ideas to a theory of mutualism, or the interrelationship between people and things, which he says has gained prominence in “discussions about the current ecological and environmental changes.”
“Virtually all designers and architects will agree that we are a collaboration of environment and self,” Gander said.
“But one formulation of this equation has received less attention: the way we compose our environments, not just as agents affecting them, but literally as them — we exist in reciprocity with our environment, which is who we are.”
Flesh Light is the latest addition to Gander’s Cronenberg-esque work, which “Sisyphus iteration,” which he says should make people question why they do what they do and emphasize the mechanical nature of biology.
“The obvious limitations in my creations – which seem to fulfill a function but want to do more – also show my skepticism towards the idea of autonomy in general. Sconces don’t choose to be sconces,” he said.
Other examples of Gander’s work include Another Fucking Lamp, an installation containing a series of silicone rubber ‘holes’.
The photograph is by Simon Leung.