Electrical System

Nancy Holt
1982
3/4 in. steel conduit, lighting and electrical fixtures, light bulbs, electrical wire
Dimensions variable

Electrical System exposes a resource so common to modern life that its visual, tangible existence often goes forgotten. The work consists of numerous lightbulbs connected by a long metal conduit that curves and winds around the gallery, allowing viewers to meander amongst the arches of light. Holt noted that the Greek root “technic” literally means “art.” Here we see a rudiment of modern technology, contextualized as art, inviting us to examine our relationship to that which we so effortlessly utilize—and so readily fail to see. 

Writing

Writing by the Artist

Ventilation Series

Nancy Holt
Made of the standard materials of each system – plumbing, electricity, drainage, heating, gas, and ventilation – the sculpture are functional; the electrical systems light, the heating systems heat, the drainage systems drain, the ventilation systems circulate the air, and so on. Since the sculptures are exposed fragments of vast, hidden networks, they are part of open-ended systems, part of the world. Over the years these technological systems have become necessary for our everyday existence, yet they are usually hidden behind walls or beneath the earth and relegated to the realm of the unconscious. We have trouble owning up to our almost total dependence on them.

See Also

Pipeline
Nancy Holt
1986
Visual Arts Center of Alaska, Anchorage [permanently closed, 1992]
Earthwork & Sculpture
Sole Source
Nancy Holt
1983
Marley Park, Dublin, Ireland
Earthwork & Sculpture