SPARKS | Sean O'Connell

Sean O’Connell’s series Sparks fuses art with alchemy. His experiments involve various natural materials and objects which are then bombarding with high voltage electrical current. To capture these extraordinary and unpredictable images, Sean electrocutes these objects directly over photographic film in a darkroom with his bespoke high voltage generator.


Science behind the Art

The electricity chooses a path of least resistance and reveals minuscule flaws and cracks in the materials. It flows around a grain of wood and shoots along a crystalline structure of meteoric ore. By applying a direct current pulse, the electricity collides and crashes through with incredible force, whereas a modulated alternating current signal washes through and reverberates within the subtler structures of matter. These different techniques result in images that document the internal energetic characteristics of the materials and objects.


Sean O’Connell’s series contains 14 different materials all in the form of a ring. Materials range from pure gold to human hair, each giving an individual result.