London: Sun Cinema

Our cinema uses electricity generated by the sun to power a digital projector. But now there’s a cinema in London which uses sunbeams directly for projection of films. The sunlight is collected by a glass dome and channelled through an old overhead projector, passing through an LCD screen playing films. The Sun Cinema was constructed at the Imperial College London Physics department. It is housed in a yurt, and films are shown in a pool of light on a tabletop. A new type of flexible solarcells cover the yurt, and provide electricity for a small computer and an LCD screen.

The website for the project has instructions and blueprints for anyone wishing to build something similar:

We were fascinated by the projector that channelled sunlight, and got in touch with Geraldine Cox, who was artist-in-residence at the physics department when the Sun Cinema was built. Here’s how she describes the projector:

“The sunlight is directed through the lcd panel that has been extracted from an old computer screen (this is a fairly delicate operation and takes someone with electrical know how). The optical arrangement is simply an upside down overhead projector with the lcd panel placed where the transparency would normally sit and the projection lens focused down onto the table.”