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Art as a tool of environmental transformation: Olafur Eliasson’s portable sun


'Little Sun’ is a lamp designed by Olafur Eliasson which seeks to take artificial light to millions of people who currently lack this service.

There are times when we can think that art and life follow different paths, almost parallel, without many crossovers. A romantic idea places the artist on the margins of society, an area where he can criticize and dissent, denounce and also, go insane.

Fortunately, this is not always the case. There are several artistic expressions which can relate honest and positively with contemporary reality, possibly signaling its flaws and at the same time providing possible solutions. This is the case of Little Sun, a lamp designed by Olafur Eliasson and Frederick Ottesen.

Generally speaking, this “portable sun” seeks to provide artificial light to over a billion people in the world who currently are forced to do their everyday activities without electricity. People who experience these conditions use kerosene lamps, which are dangerous and pollute the environment, which will be replaced by solar energy: Little Sun’s batter can provide 5 hours of LED light after being exposed to the sun for four hours. Additionally, it can last for up to 3 years, a much longer period compared to the 3 to 6 months of its kerosene counterpart. It is built using low cost materials that enable its massive distribution.

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