Kodama "Morpho Towers -- Two Standing Spirals" (2007)
Yasushi Miyajima (Sony CSL)
Thanks:Satoru Saito, Kingo Arakawa, Takeshi Aoki, Osamu Sumiya(UEC),
Tetsuhide Hidaka, PIRAMI
Image copyright (c)Sachiko Kodama, music by Tetsuhide Hidaka
(Windows Media Player)
gMorpho Towers--Two Standing Spiralsh is an installation
that consists of two ferrofluid sculptures that moves synthetically
to music. The two spiral towers stand on a large plate that hold ferrofluid.
When the music starts, the magnetic field around the tower is strengthened.
Spikes of ferrofluid are born from the bottom plate and move up, trembling
and rotating around the edge of the iron spiral.
The body of the tower was made by a new technique called gferrofluid
sculptureh that enables artists to create dynamic sculptures with fluid
materials. This technique uses one electromagnet, and its iron core
is extended and sculpted. The ferrofluid covers the sculpted surface
of a three-dimensional iron shape that was made on an electronic NC
lathe. The movement of the spikes in the fluid is controlled dynamically
on the surface by adjusting the power of the electromagnet. The shape
of the iron body is designed as helical so that the fluid can move to
the top of the helical tower when the magnetic field is strong enough.
The surface of the tower responds dynamically to its magnetic environment.
When there is no magnetic field, the tower appears to be a simple spiral
shape. But when the magnetic field around the tower is strengthened,
spikes of ferrofluid are born; at the same time, the towerfs surface
dynamically morphs into a variety of textures ranging from soft fluid
to minute moss, or to spiky sharkfs teeth, or again to a hard iron surface.
The ferrofluid, with its smooth, black surface that seems to draw people
in, reaches the top of the tower, spreading like a fractal, defying
The spikes of ferrofluid are made to rotate around the edge of the spiral
cone, becoming large or small depending on the strength of the magnetic
field. In this work the speed of this rotation can be controlled without
motors or shaft mechanisms ? we simply control the magnetic power.
In this work, we are trying to activate analogue physical phenomena
(= fluid) precisely by utilizing digital music metadata. To control
the synchronization of the ferrofluid with the music playback in real
time, time series metadata are added to the music beforehand. The metadata
consist of musical information, such as beat position, chord progression,
and melody block information, and ferrofluid control information such
as DC bias voltage and AC pattern. Each data record has a time stamp
that indicates the timing of presentation. All data are stored in time-series
These time series metadata must be accurate for precise control of timing,
so as to cancel the time delay of fluid movement. By this correction,
the time when the protuberance of the spike reaches its maximum size
is coincident with the beat of the music. As a result, the rhythm of
the fluid movement coincides with the musical rhythm. When there is
no sound, the fluid falls down into the plate.
As there are two towers in the installation, complicated expressions
of surfaces become possible. Each towerfs surface pulsates, like one
creature calling to the other.
Fluid moves synthetically with the music, as if it breathes, and the
condition of the fluid's surface emerges as autonomous and complex.
In this art we want to harmonize several opposing properties, such as
hardness (iron) / softness (fluid) and freedom (desire for design) /
restriction (natural powers such as gravity). This work emerges as an
autonomous transformation of the material itself: sometimes it seems
like a horn, sometimes a fir tree, and sometimes even like the Tower