laura beaumont, ‘Topsy - Harper's Everyday Electricity’, 2016, Gallery Different

Laura Beaumont works in series. Each piece is unique but she will work on a series of up to 10 sculptures using the same book title. Each piece has a story which is integral to the piece:

Many believe Topsy the Coney Island elephant, was a victim of the so-called War of the Currents, the battle between Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison over alternating and direct current. “Captured on film by Thomas Edison, the event was one of a string of animal electrocutions Edison staged to discredit a new form of electricity: alternating current
‘The execution was witnessed by 1,500 or more curious persons, who went down to the island to see the end of the huge beast, to whom they had fed peanuts and cakes in summers that are gone. 460 grams of cyanide of potassium were fed to her in carrots. Then a hawser was put around her neck, one end was attached to a donkey engine and the other to a post. Next, wooden sandals lined with copper were attached to her feet. These electrodes were connected by copper wire from the Edison electric light plant and a current of 6,600 volts was sent through her body. The big beast died without a trumpet or a groan.’

Signature: Signed verso

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