Nixieland is a project I worked on in 2014. The idea was to build a nixie tube display and make a series of images from it.

I ended up making just one image, and exhibiting that in a group photographic exhibition “Light” organised by Atkins Technicolour as part of the Shimmer festival.


Here’s my artist statement:

“The orange glow of the Nixie tube recalls the atmosphere of the new atomic age, early space missions and the Cold War. These tubes were developed in the 1950s and used the glow of neon gas to create illuminated displays before the days of LEDs.

I love the quality of the light they produce – its colour and softness, but as well as this Nixes play to an increasing interest I have in the relationship between the digital and the analogue. These devices came at the cusp of the digital age – they used 19th century valve technology at the dawn of the age of solid-state electronics. In this work I seek to explore the nature of light and the ways it is recorded and transmitted to us.”

I always felt that this work was not complete – that it needed something else. The idea came to me that a video that showed the tubes in a more dynamic way would be the way to go. I attempted a very simple, low-fi rendering of a meandering nixie count- down. It counts down to what? The end of a performance for the Eurovision Song contest in the 1960s. When the world ends, it will be not with a bang, but with polite applause from a German audience for Vicki’s slightly doleful rendering of “L’amour est Bleu.”