Way of Energy

Is a standing wave light installation concept addressing the potential of giving energy a direction. The installation consists of a 12 meter elastic rope being swung in a specific frequency so that a standing wave phenomenon occurs. Meanwhile powerful multi-colored LED light is being strobed into the installation at the approximate same frequency as the rotational frequency of the rope.

Way of Energy suggests that beauty occurs when energy is directed by intention. Like waves so is the case with human ambitions.

The project is commissioned by and exhibited at DTU Center for Technological Entrepreneurship


For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated by waves, frequency, resonance and the visualization hereof. If you look around my website you'll find other projects in which I have investigated the artistic potential of waves and vibrations, so when I got the assuagement I had already done some experiments which DTU thought had great potential. Standing waves has already been investigated by several other artists (e.g Daniel Palacios, Jeppe Hein and Paul Friedlander) but yet I still feel that it has a timeless and universal appeal.

The reason I thought a large standing wave would be great in the context of DTU Center for Entrepreneurship was that like the new institute that is going to give the students at DTU a direction for their ambitioner this installation directs a simple mechanical energy thus creating something extraordinarily beautiful. I see this installation and the institute as a testament to what can happen if energy and ambition gets focused in a deliberate direction.

Working princeple

The system basically consists of a AC 3 phase motor, a rotating disc, a ceiling hook and a few ball bearings. In addition, powerful RGB LED light is being rapidly flashed from the bottom onto a white elastic rope which technically can be extended to any length. I found that pretty much any type of ball bearing will work, however, tapered roller bearings in the top hook part will result in a more quiet run of the installation.

When the motor activates, the rope will start spinning, and because it rotates freely in both the top and bottom of the installation it will not curl up but rather start to form a standing wave. Depending on the rotational speed of the motor the wave will change its frequency and thus create more or less cycles. When the speed of the motor approaches one of many breaking points for one of the cycles the amplitude will increase significantly and result in a much larger energy consumption, however, it looks really good :)

standing wave


Initially I thought that the creation of this installation would be relatively straight forward, however, as it usually turns out there where a few obstacles on the way. I won't bore you with all the details but especially reducing the vibrations generated by the setup and creating a stable standing wave using elastic rope turned out to be more complicated that I had thought. Apparently an elastic rope has some noticeable advantages but also allows for an up- and downwards going wave that will destabilize the rope thus result in a significantly smaller amplitude on the standing wave. This issue however is directly potential to the length of the rope.