The public sculpture project, Thunderbolt, at Sydney Olympic Park (SOP) was commissioned to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Sydney Olympics and sponsored by EnergyAustralia. The community’s nocturnal energy use changes the colour of the sculpture from green (low), to yellow (tipping point), to red (high).Thunderbolt applies digital technologies to a physical object to effect transformations in response to live data streams online. The digital interface of the sculpture with real time publication of neighbouring domestic energy loadings activates live performances of the sculpture’s iridescent lighting at night. Decommissioned at SOP at the beginning of 2012, the sculptured is now re-installed in Broken Hill, initially in the Desert Equinox event, and now sponsored by Coles Supermarket on whose property it is installed in South Broken Hill, sponsored by Essential Energy and Desert Knowledge Australia Outback Business Networks.
The artwork is a project of the Environmental Research Initiative for Art’s research of the use of sustainable energy electronic to power robust systems for electronic public art. Thunderbolt is powered by solar panels. Environmental Research Initiative for Art (ERIA) is the research arm of the Sculpture, Performance and Installation Department at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant. Bonita Ely is an inaugural member.