This monumental light sculpture is a time-based artwork, composed of 144 circles of light. The lights are linked together, forming a large chain that hangs suspended from above. The artwork explores the nature of time in many, complex ways. For one, the brightness of the individual circles can be seen to change throughout the course of one natural day. A gradient of light travels around the chain, graduating from a soft glow to an intense radiance. The rings of light that are inextricably linked act as a symbol of eternity. Intertwined in a continuous chain, they amplify the sense of infinity that time evokes.
Chain Reaction also represents a more spatial conception of time. The chain is hanging at a slope of 23.4 degrees, representing the axial tilt of the Earth. This tilt is the angle at which the Earth faces the Sun as it orbits—the cause of the four seasons. Like the Earth around the Sun, Chain Reaction rotates slowly during the course of one year. Its changing tilt coincides with the seasons: summer, autumn, spring, and winter. One can only experience the changing positions by visiting the sculpture throughout the year.
Site specific executions and Ballet National de Marseille
The concepts depicted by Chain Reaction can be executed in many ways. Depending on its location and the duration of its exhibition, the sculpture can be tailored for specific events and spaces. For example, Chain Reaction served as the basis for Emio Greco and P.C. Scholten’s contemporary dance piece titled “Extremalism." The time-based nature of the sculpture was edited to fit the duration of the performance. The light and movement of the sculpture merged with choreography and music. This unique and special “performance” of the light sculpture was realized through a close collaboration of Henk Stallinga with the choreographers.
Stedelijk museum Amsterdam
In the renowned stairwell of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the angle and movement of the Chain Reaction was programed in tune with the space, staircase, and duration of the exhibition.