The Ore lamp is a passive communication link between rescuers and citizens in disaster settings. By displaying Ore in a window or other outwardly visible location, citizens can use the simple three-color triage system to indicate to rescuers the urgency of their needs.
The news coming from Puerto Rico immediately after Hurricane Maria revealed chaos and surprises. A Puerto Rican former colleague of mine shared updates on Facebook as he went on two trips to San Juan: one to help bring his relatives back to the states, and another to transport supplies to aid friends with rescue efforts in more rural areas of the island. From these first-hand sources, I distilled that two of the immediate, primary needs for people in this situation are 1) communication and 2) medicine.
The Ore lamp addresses these needs by creating process: using a red-yellow-green color system, urgency can be defined and expressed to rescuers. Green indicates “we currently safe and not in need of assistance”, yellow represents “we will need assistance and/or aid as soon as possible”, and red expresses that “we are in need of IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION.” The lamp would be distributed to households or individuals by local groups/governments prior to an impending disaster and displayed in windows, on rooftops, or in other prominent locations as rescue efforts commence.
To capture the influence of Marc Chagall, my chosen artist for this project, I used human elements (a face and arms holding the light like a child), “stained glass” translucent color panels, and a stone-like material for the structure, as well as roundness in the form.
As part of my research for this project, I looked through many Marc Chagall art digital archives and was thoroughly impressed with his wide range of work. I love the emotion in his work and his use of bright colors to bring hope to paintings set in dark contexts. As a small tribute to the Jewish heritage that Chagall and I share, I intend this Chagall-esque version of the lamp to be lit by an oil lamp – an object that has signified hope and miracles across Jewish history and which I imagine would play the same role in disaster relief settings today. The name Ore is also a reference to the Hebrew word "Or", meaning "light".