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Subject: Lighting control

Lighting control

From: Jerry Shiner <jshiner>
Date: Sunday, April 9, 2006
Nora Lockshin <lockshinn [at] si__edu> writes

>Does anyone have any design plans to share for self-shuttering
>viewer-activated exhibition frames or cases for flat artworks? ...

What a delightful challenge: anything mechanical is likely to
eventually malfunction or break down. This is especially true of a
system that must be operated by an untrained audience. Even if a
mechanical system can shutter out enough light to be effective, the
audience will demand complete "clarity" when the shuttering system
is not operating; this provides many interesting design challenges.
Excluding lights on motion sensors or timers, I know of only one
such product: a simple curtain.

Some years ago I attended an exhibition of early photographs in
Tokyo. The entire room was kept at very low general light levels,
and each of the more sensitive images was covered with a heavy cloth
curtain (prints, frames, and curtains were all rather small). The
curtains had to be manually lifted and held in place before the
photographs could be viewed--when released, they fell again to
completely shroud the images. The Japanese audience seemed quite
content with this system, but in North America the response may be
different. On the plus side, everybody knows how to lift a curtain,
and it did add a sense of the preciousness of these images.

Of course, this is a good application for a cumulative light
dosimeter, such as the LightCheck products. A LightCheck strip
indicates the total light absorbed by changing colour. The results
could be surprising, as the total illumination received during
viewing periods might even indicate that brighter intermittent
illumination may be achievable. More information on LightCheck
available at <URL:>

Jerry Shiner
Microclimate Technologies International / Keepsafe Systems
800-683-4696 ext 701
905-629-1999 ext 701

                  Conservation DistList Instance 19:51
                  Distributed: Friday, April 21, 2006
                       Message Id: cdl-19-51-010
Received on Sunday, 9 April, 2006

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