Aug
19
2013
<em>Wavefunction</em> (prototype)
 
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
Wavefunction, 2007 (prototype)

Subsculpture 9

“Wavefunction” is a kinetic sculpture comprised of fifty Charles and Ray Eames moulded chairs (designed in 1948) and placed in ten rows of five chairs each, facing the entrance to the exhibition space. When someone approaches the work, a computerized surveillance system detects their presence and the closest chairs automatically begin to lift off the ground, creating the crest of a wave that then spreads over the whole room. A system of electromechanical pistons raises each chair forty centimetres from the ground. The pistons are controlled by a computer that runs the mathematics of fluid dynamics, thus making the waves interfere with each other, creating turbulence or becoming calm, just like real water. Periodically, the chairs stop interacting with the public and perform a choreography set to the music of Claudio Monteverdi’s Lamento d’Arianna. The idea of a “function” as a field for artistic experimentation is a motivation for this piece. Other references include: the mathematics of dynamic systems, capable of generating complex non-linear behaviors, the materialization of surveillance and turbulence and the anti-modular reinterpretation of the work of modern designers such as Charles and Ray Eames.
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