Unique visions of miniature sculpture enclosed
in vintage vacuum tubes and fiction
by Peter Luber
Peter is a sculptor of truly miniature proportion — few of his works are more than eight inches tall. His primary format is mixed-media sculpture encased within vintage vacuum tubes. Modeling was a weekend hobby while Peter spent two decades comfortably ensconced in corporate America. He’s left all that behind, with new goals of sharing his images of life in the form of tiny radio tube sculptures, and in his words, as expressed in his novels and short stories.
“Already a highly skilled modeler, I became less and less interested in simply producing scale facsimiles, so I stopped copying and sought images from my own imagination and experience; images that meant more to me than a simple shrinking of recognizable objects. After some experimentation in an assortment of media, I discovered that vacuum tubes served as the perfect frame for my work. So I found a few, and then figured out how to insert a sculpted three-dimensional image inside while still leaving the viewer with the understanding that the object he is holding was once a component of an electronic device.” dixit Peter Luber
Vacuum tubes represent man’s first fragile step into the world of electronic information processing. They are also the first and last time an electronic component bore real aesthetic appeal to the untrained eye.
What is a vacuum tube? Simply a bit of electronic function in the form of carefully crafted metals suspended in an airless void, all encased in glass. That function, usually varying the levels of resistance or capacitance in an electric current, amounted to some simple switching to keep early electronic circuits humming and very large radios glowing. Tubes were wired to uncounted radio chassis, early computers, and are currently finding a home in high-end audio equipment.
What else is a vacuum tube? It may possibly a final example of an era where craftsmanship and design were still included in the making of even the simplest of objects. And when working they look so good!
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