Larry and Debby Kline artists and provocateurs – installation, performances, and other works

“Unplugged” – Orion Magazine, September/October 2004

Orion 2004 Cover

UNPLUGGED

Artists Larry and Debby Kline find themselves “easily agitated” when working beneath powerlines. Their project, The Electric Fields of California, entails installing a series of freestanding, unelectrified outdoor fluorescent light bulbs along portions of California’s power grid from the Mexican border to Sacramento. The Gunk Foundation and the Potrero Nuevo Fund provided partial funding for the outdoor light sculptures, which are meant to call public attention to the hidden dangers of electro-magnetic fields (EMFs). The bulbs, whose plasma is excited by the ambient EMFs emanating from high-voltage lines, light up without a direct electrical connection. With electrical lines crackling overhead, the ambiance of thirty to one hundred atmospherically lit bulbs is aesthetically intriguing-and a little creepy.
At one project site in a vineyard just east of Los Angeles, the grapevines vibrate. If electromagnetic fields are powerful enough to shake vines and their wooden supports, how widespread are their impacts, and do they affect us? “It seems logical that as humans are essentially electrical beings, exposure to strong EMFs could have a physiological effect,” said Larry Kline.

A study conducted in 1991 by the National Research Council (NRC) found no discernable public-health effects from exposure to EMFs transmitted by high-voltage electrical lines. Later, a NRC review of epidemiological studies concluded that children living in homes with high magnetic fields have a 150 percent greater risk of developing leukemia. “In Sacramento, we saw
small structures located so close to the towers that we assumed they were maintenance facilities-unfortunately, they were homes,” said Debby Kline.

The Electric Fields of California’s final installation will be located on Tubbs Island near Highway 37 through 2004.

Orion 2004 Article Detail


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