"heliosphere - biosphere - technosphere"


Adelheid Mers and Patrick McGee

at the Exelon Pavilion

The sun radiates various forms of energy, including visible light, ultra violet light, radio waves, and x-rays. Green plants convert water and carbon dioxide into nutrients using sunlight as an energy source. As a byproduct of photosynthesis, they release oxygen. Humans breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide, that in turn is absorbed again by plants. In the stratosphere, oxygen molecules break up and recombine to form ozone. The ozone layer protects life from the sun’s harmful UVB radiation. Photovoltaic cells, also known as solar cells, convert the energy of light into electric energy. Besides solar energy, other sources of renewable energy are wind, water, geothermal and biomass. Renewable energy is energy that can be replenished in a short period of time.


Artists Patrick McGee and Adelheid Mers have created a site-specific sculptural installation that optically expands the Exelon Pavilion’s atrium. Three 9-foot diameter, two-way mirrors are mounted at right angles to each other, spectacularly reflecting each other and their surroundings during the day through sandblasted patterns of a leaf and a solar cell. For dusk and nighttime appeal, they are backlit to reveal appearing and disappearing imagery and text and address how the artists conceptualize the links between the earth’s atmosphere, photosynthesis and solar power, between the heliosphere, the biosphere, and the technosphere. The alphanumeric displays within the artwork represent the actual energy generated from the solar/photovoltaic cells that are integrated into the exterior walls of the Exelon Pavilions.  These solar panels produce electricity to meet part of the energy needs for the building. As the spheres reflect onto each other, their inherent interconnectedness is emphasized, while each sphere symbolizes and illuminates a distinct system.


by day
at night

a few installation shots: