Gallery: Olafur Eliasson Combines Art and Solar Technology to Shed Ligh...


The ability to switch on a light is something that many of us take for granted, but more than 20% of the world is left in the dark when night falls. With 1.6 billion people lacking access to electricity, few solutions exist for these often impoverished individuals to gain access to lighting that is affordable, reliable, and above all, safe. Recently, Artist Olafur Eliasson and innovator Frederick Ottesen released Little Sun, a portable solar-powered lamp capable of providing five hours of continuous light. While the little lamp is being distributed for use worldwide, Eliasson decided to join forces with the Tate Modern Museum in London to promote the new lighting innovation to the public. In an interactive exhibit where art meets technology to improve living, the aptly dubbed ‘Tate Blackouts‘ invite vistors to experience art in the Tate‘s suite of surrealist galleries using only the Little Sun lamps to light the way. While the lamps are being used far from their ultimate recipients, their use in this forward-thinking art exhibit poignantly provides a vehicle for the more fortunate to internalize what it means to live with little or no access to electrical lighting. We recently visited the exhibit in London — see some of our photos ahead and learn more about how Little Sun has the potential to bring new light and raise living standards for more than a billion people worldwide.

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  1. Ana Lisa Alperovich August 13, 2012 at 6:36 am

    I went to experience Little Sun at Tate Modern and really enjoyed using the solar-powered light to look into the paintings´details and doing some light graffiti was so much fun! I really hope this amazing social and economic project can help some of those 1.6 billion people living in off-grid locations!

  2. Lori Zimmer August 10, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    I just bought one at the Tate Modern last week!

  3. Catino August 8, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    What an inspiring way to use art to make a positive change!

  4. amandacoen August 8, 2012 at 3:19 pm

    Great example of where need meets design!

  5. theresaharmen August 8, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Smart and simple design! love it!

  6. Andrew Michler August 8, 2012 at 12:43 pm
  7. Mike Chino August 8, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Love the design of the Little Sun, and I wish I could check out the new exhibit!

  8. Beth Buczynski August 8, 2012 at 11:35 am

    Such a smart, accessible design. Solar FTW!

  9. Yuka Yoneda August 8, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Eliasson’s past works are hard to top but Little Sun is my favorite by far.

  10. JasminMC August 8, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Those flower lights are adorable!

  11. Alyssa Alimurung August 8, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Awesome project and love that the Tate is doing the blackouts. Wish I could be there to be part of it!

  12. Charley Cameron August 8, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Absolutely love Eliasson’s work, and this project brings some many incredible components together

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