Long-exposure photography has had a longtime love affair with light painting. Whether it’s Picasso drawing figures in midair or a speeding train appearing as a laser cutting across the horizon, smearing a few bulbs across time and space within a single frame is just as striking now as it was a century ago.
Troika’s Thixotropes, installed in the Selfridges department store of London and nominated for a 2012 Designs of the Year Award, are lamps interned to bring light painting to real life. They’re kinetic chandeliers, a series of steel-banded carbon rods attached to a steel pole. The rods are lined with LEDs, and through quick revolutions combined with our own persistence of vision, materialize into floating geometric shapes.
The name comes from thixotropy, the property in which a liquid or gel becomes thinner when stirred. (It’s okay, I looked it up, too.) “‘Static’ light is ‘liquified’ through the movement of the structures,” explains Troika Cofounder and Director Conny Freyer.
Currently, Troika has constructed seven large thixotropes available for public exhibition, and they’re planning on creating smaller versions as well–that is, if humanity doesn’t band together under one nation and one flag to thwart the proliferation of all these UFOs first.