Near Unison, my project exploring harmonographic traces is currently being shown at Kinetica Art Fair. The exhibition is in Ambika P3, the exhibition space attached to the University of Westminster on Marylebone Road. For more information on the exhibition, and details about tickets and opening times please visit the Kinetica Art Fair website.
The exhibit features a prototype of the interactive harmonograph swings that could form part of the larger installation proposed for Burning Man Festival, along with casts of the harmonographic traces left in sand, and photographic work documenting the process.
“The 5th Kinetica Art Fair returns February 28th – March 3rd 2013 at Ambika P3, as one of London’s annual landmark art exhibitions and a permanent ﬁxture in the Art Fair calendar, renowned as the UK’s only art fair dedicated to kinetic, robotic, sound, light, time-based and new media art.
Kinetica is hosting the work of over 45 galleries and art organisations nationally and internationally, with representatives from UK, France, Russia, USA, Poland, Holland, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Indonesia and Japan, collectively showing over 400 works of art.
A huge interactive light sculpture from Dutch artist Titia Ex will greet visitors as they enter the impressive Ambika P3 venue, and giant 3D sculptures from Holotronica will hover above the main space of the Fair. Other highlights include an exoskeleton hybrid of mananimal-machine by Christiann Zwanniken; a giant three dimensional zoetrope by Greg Barsamian; and a life-size ‘Galloping Horse’ made of light by Remi Brun”
NEAR UNISON is an installation that allows participants to visualize the harmonic relationships between them. Pairs of sit-on pendulum swings create several large scale harmonographs that scratch drawings onto the surface of the Black Rock Playa. The structure that holds these harmonographs is itself a physical representation of a harmonographic form that can be seen from a distance across the Black Rock Playa.
The harmonograph was a 19th century machine that was invented to explore the geometry of sine waves. It was soon developed into a popular parlour room toy that was capable of producing beautiful and delicate drawings simply by mapping the relationship between two swinging pendulums. By changing the lengths of the pendulums, their wavelength and oscillating frequency are changed. When the ratio of these two frequencies is something complex like 35:73, there is no discernible pattern, but as soon as it hits a simple ratio such as 3:5 or 2:3 a clear pattern emerges. The relationship between visual harmony and mathematical ratio is exactly the same those found in musical harmonies: the ratios that produce beautiful drawings are the same as produce harmonious musical chords.
The title ‘NEAR UNISON’ is derived from the set of patterns that occur when the ratio of the two pendulums is very close to 1:1, as will occur when people of a similar weight are using the interactive harmonograph. It is expected that the patterns produced by these interactive harmonographs will describe, in an abstracted manner, the similarity of all human beings, while emphasizing the subtle differences between individuals.
The overall form of the structure is also derived from a 3D harmonographic surface with a ratio that is in this ‘near unison’ region. A plywood structure supports pipes that trace the harmonographic lines through space to create a delicately curved sculptural form that sits directly on the Playa. Suspended from this structure are a series of connected pendulums that participants are able to ride like swings. When they are are used, these pendulums trace harmonographic patterns onto the surface of Playa. The drawings that are created will map the interaction between pairs of participants.
A series of experiments tracing the movement of a freely oscillating pendulum in a layer of sand.
The pendulum’s centre of gravity is slightly off-centre, meaning that the the x and y components of its movement oscillate at very slightly different frequencies; the harmonic relationship between these frequencies causes remains constant as the amplitude decreases rapidly due to friction between the pendulum and the sand. The rate of decay of the amplitude can be controlled by the depth to when the pendulum penetrates the layer of sand.
Casts of these forms were made by pouring liquid plaster carefully over the sand once it had been held in place with a light coating of sprayed acrylic varnish.
A series of long exposure photographs of a light on the end of a freely oscillating pendulum.
The pendulum’s centre of gravity is slightly off-centre, meaning that the x and y components of its movement oscillate at very slightly different frequencies; the harmonic relationship between these frequencies causes remains constant as the amplitude decreases due to friction between the pendulum and the air.
This set up is the most simple form of a harmonograph.
Great to be back! Here are some pictures of our pin-up. Students have 5 more days to go before their interim portfolio submission and seven days before submitting their Burning Man and Wikihouse proposals. Then we will move on to brief03: Temple. Very excited about the projects! Thank you very much to Nick Ierodiaconou and Alastair Parvin creators of the Wikihouse from 00:/ Architects for their very insightful comments.