ChaoDependant investigates the use of technology to explore invisibly structured spaces, in particular the attraction and repulsion of magnetic fields. A pendulum hangs from the roof, with a magnet encased in glass as the bob. A circular base supports a collection of glass pods containing magnets, sensors and lights.

(with Owen Green and Agelos Papadakis)

As the pendulum swings, the magnetic fields around it push it in different directions, leading to a gently chaotic motion - this plays off the common expectation of a pendulum as a regular process, segmenting time into perfectly equal intervals. As the pendulum nears each pod, the pod senses its presence, and glows in response, giving a clear visual indication of the physical processes taking place. Sonically, each pod is related to a sound which has been recorded in the glass workshop during the creation of the pieces. The output of the sensors is further used to subtly manipulate sound parameters in a more abstract and less direct way, so that the installation holds interest.

Technical Summary:

The piece uses the full height of the space, covering a 1.5 - 2m circle on the floor. Neodymium magnets are used throughout to give a good magnetic field to weight ratio, and provide strong fields for the sensors. The Hall Effect sensors used sense magnetic fields, and send this information to an Arduino (a microprocessor prototyping board) which then controls the brightness of the LEDs inside the floor pods, and sends the control signals into a computer running Max/MSP where they are used to play and manipulate sounds. The computer is connected to speakers surrounding the pendulum, facing inwards, so that participants are in a zone between the speakers and the pendulum’s swing.