Three flames ate the sun, and big stars were seen

Phil Archer 2012

The title is taken from a Chinese inscription from 1302 BC, in which a solar eclipse is described. The work uses data from NASA’s research into solar eclipses (2137 BC to 1991 AD) to calculate the dates of eclipses throughout history and tie them to recorded historical events. A blue laser is used to ‘paint’ a representation of each eclipse onto photochromic pigment, which then gradually fades away to be replaced by the next one.


Wall mounted canvas, photochromic paint, arduino, stepper motor, custom software


Data as Culture 2012
July 2012 - March 2013 at the Open Data Institute

Data Types

Anecdata, Environmental, Geospatial, Identifiable, Metadata, Retrieved, Shared, Temporal

About the Artist

Phil completed a PhD in music composition in 2004, creating his own handmade electronic instruments and rewiring existing technologies to see what would happen. Previous works have included modified CD players, electronic music boxes, and the…
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