A Little Sun, Solar Power, and Electricity: Olafur Eliasson at the Tate Modern

A little sunshine can go a long way, or at least, that’s what artist Olafur Eliasson has set out to prove. His exhibition, Little Sun, at the Tate Modern revolves around “solar power, the global energy challenge, light and its importance in and for life.” But at the center of it all, lies not the Sun, but a tiny solar powered lamp called a Little Sun! http://vimeo.com/41830924

Eliasson explains the Little Sun as follows:

Light is for everyone – it determines what we do and how we do it. This is why Frederik Ottesen and I have developed the solar-powered lamp Little Sun. Little Sun is a small work of art with a large reach. One part of the artwork is the lamp and the activities it enables. The other is the successful distribution of Little Sun in off-grid communities, its journey from production to usage.

In some households, there will be a Little Sun that beams during the night. The lamp is also being sold at the Tate Modern and with every purchase, it will be made available at a lower price to those who do not have access to electricity. Furthermore, visitors will be able to create light graffiti using the Little Sun! Yet the luckiest will be those who participate in a blackout event in the Surrealism galleries and use their lamps to see the art!


But once the lights are turned back on, it’s important to note that Little Sun is not just an exhibition, it’s a for profit company!  One that seeks to expand its distribution networks into the depths of darkness to bring electricity, prosperity, and economic growth to all.

Their business model is similar to TOMs in that they will provide a reduced price Little Sun to off-grid communities for every lamp that is bought. Some additional points regarding their business goals are mentioned below:

We will ensure that Little Sun is made available where typical commercial interests would not reach.

We will focus our energy on the point where the need is most: where electricity is unavailable, unreliable, unaffordable, or unsustainable.

We will drive profit to this point of need – far beyond where industry normally goes.

We will help create and nurture small sustainable businesses by supplying them with Little Suns and providing the support they need to create profit.

We aim to make light, energy, and profits available everywhere.

Little Sun is a stellar example of a project that spans the fields of art, science, and business! Here’s to a little sunshine going a long, long way!