Alan Gibb's Eclectic, Electric Art

Dylan Thuras is a guest blogger on Boing Boing. Dylan is a travel blogger and the co-founder of the Atlas Obscura: A Compendium of the World's Wonders, Curiosities, and Esoterica, with Joshua Foer.


Riffing off of Xeni's excellent post about Omega Recoil I wanted to bring your attention to the Electrum, the world's largest Tesla Coil.

"Known as Electrum, the four-story (38-ft) Tesla coil was commissioned by a prominent New Zealand art patron Alan Gibbs, and set up on on his farm outside of Auckland, New Zealand in April 1998. Built by artist Eric Orr and high voltage engineer Greg Leyh, the enormous coil puts out over 3 million volts.

A particular delight of the Electrum Coil is the hollow spherical cage on top, where Greg Leyh would often sit during shows. While Leyh is safe within the Faraday cage created by the sphere, if he were to put his hand through the cage, he would be instantly electrocuted."

As interesting as the coil itself is Alan Gibbs, the art patron who commissioned it. Gibbs is one of New Zealand's wealthiest residents and is worth a third of a billion dollars. Called a "James Bond in Jandals" Gibbs has dabbled in everything from cars to telecoms, however the Bond reputation comes from Gibbs' recent project, the Aquada. The Aquada is an amphibious car that travels at over a 100km/h on land and smoothly transitions to 30km/h in water. Along with his other hobbies Gibbs owns what he calls "The Farm," an area rural in New Zealand where he collects and privately displays massive works of art such as the Electrum and Neil Dawson's "Horizons" pictured below.


There is more info on the Electrum on the Atlas, this is an interesting article about the Aquada, and a link to more pictures of the enormous art on found on Gibb's Farm.