network data visualization
Behind the Screen
kinetic sculpture and media facade installation

Collegium Hungaricum Berlin
»Behind the screen«, exhibited at the Collegium Hungaricum in 2009 is a kinetic installation in which a gear-driven acrylic glass sculpture generates abstract patterns out of ferromagnetic fluid; the patterns are then projected onto the facade of the Collegium Hungaricum. Both the projected images – the end product – and the image-generating sculpture – the production process – are artistic in nature.
The work may be regarded as homage to the Light Space Modulator by László Moholy-Nagy, the Hungarian Bauhaus artist. Our approach was to expand on his idea of a total work of art consisting of the synthesis of color, light and movement by adding the digital element thereby transporting Moholy-Nagy’s vision into a contemporary object.
Collaboration with:
Fabian Brunsing and Christopher Warnow
A kinetic sculpture that investigates the relationship between image and imagecreating system
Technical Background
The sculpture consists of a gear made out of acrylic glass that is set in motion by a remote-controlled crank handle. Above this is a basin filled with ferromagnetic fluid. Magnets are also mounted to the rotating gears to which the ferrofluid reacts, accumulating to form moving organic patterns – black ink spots in bright synthetic light. The generated aesthetic can be interpreted as a ‘negative’ variation of the Light Space Modulator in which the surroundings are dark and the projection light.

These are the analogue components. It is only when the liquid is filmed that the image is enhanced by the digital. Guided by blob detection, a swarm of reactive particles is superimposed on the simple video image. The particles react to the ferrofluid just as the ferrofluid reacts to magnets: both are set in motion. The circle of analogue and digital features closes and an older idea is transported into a new time.

Some more images from the event and the »making of« can be found on Flickr
»Behind the Screen« Flickr Set