French artist Parse/Error has designed a lamp that really captures the world’s tense political climate.
Called the Political Lamp, the item contains a tiny cloud inside a glass container. But that’s not what makes it so unique. You see, it conjures a miniature thunderstorm whenever President Donald Trump posts one of his ominous tweets.
It’s highly similar to his previous innovation, the Earthquake Lamp, which reacts in real-time to earthquakes around the world. Except, you know, the Political Lamp warns us of something much more terrifying.
According to Parse/Error, he created the piece as a visual representation of today’s turmoil.
He elaborated: “A world where the words of one man, released without reflection and with spontaneity on a global social network, can endanger the fate of millions by spreading the ghost of nuclear war on the planet.”
We recently caught up with Parse/Error to learn more about his work.
How did you become an artist? How would you describe your work?
“I’m Fabien, a French artist based in Marseille, and I’m also the creator and editor of UFUNK.net magazine.
“I’ve always had a lot of different interests involving technology or art and creativity, like connected objects or virtual reality, but I really started to work on defined projects as an artist and designer about a year ago. I think I needed to focus more on certain personal projects, especially on the meaning behind them.
“Despite using a lot of technology and coding, which are really concrete and not something you usually describe as art, my work is really based on feelings and emotions. I want to provoke reactions and make people ask questions through interactivity and connectivity.
“I’m also centered on the relationships between humans and their environment: how we experience the world, whether it’s nature, other humans, or technology around us. I also try to hide the true meaning of my works at first, usually behind a beautiful object, letting the viewer have different feelings about it.”
What was the inspiration behind the Political Lamp?
“I was working with real time data with my Earthquake Lamp, and I think that, unconsciously, I realized I became even more afraid of humanity when talking about destruction and fear.
“I was in Tokyo during the major earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, and it was the most traumatic event in my life. But even then, I think knowing the fact that anyone’s life can be threatened by powerful people is far more frightening.
“That’s why Donald Trump was perfect for the project. He expresses his extreme thoughts on a social media without filter. Of course, Trump is not the only one, but he best represented what I wanted to express.”
How long did it take to build the lamp? What was the most challenging aspect of making it?
“I worked for a week or two to build the lamp. The most challenging aspect was to find a way to create realistic lighting and making it appear randomly like the real thing. After that, connecting it to data from Twitter wasn’t so difficult.”
Is the lamp for sale? If not, ever considered sending it to the White House as a ‘gift’?
“For now, the Political Lamp is only an art piece, where the concept is more important than the object itself. If I decide to sell the lamp, it will be a limited edition of 10, I think.
“The problem is that I’m really attached to the idea behind it. This is not a product, and I clearly don’t want to let people use it to receive notifications from Facebook or emails. But I admit that sending it to the White House as a gift is a pretty clever idea!”
Interestingly, you also built a lamp that lights up during earthquakes. Seeing as both items respond to things we dread, which one scares you more?
“As I said earlier, both are really fascinating and frightening. But I think that seeing someone who owns nuclear codes and geopolitical power, as well as expresses radical ideas and thoughts on Twitter every day, really makes me feel uncomfortable.”
What’s next for you?
“I will try to focus more and more on my creations, because I really need to express myself, and I find that my personal projects are the best way to do it. And of course, I want to find a way to display my art and my concepts through exhibitions, as I think it’s the best way for others to experience my objects.”