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Water Organ (2017)

A kinetic sculpture plays an ambisonic musical composition as inductive forces transform floating resonant vessels into moving speakers.  


Participants trigger a random process generating electronic tones into seven copper inductive coils placed under water.  Magnets underneath floating vessels transform upcycled steel "tin" lids into audible speakers, each resonating with a unique timbral character while passing over copper inductive speaker coils.  A seven toned ambisonic composition emerges from the minute vibration of each steel vessel floating above the water.  The audible volume of each vessel varies according to a complex interplay between a vessel's resonant frequency and the frequency of the electromagnetic audio signals being sent through the coils.  Kinetic motion emerges from a semi-chaotic imbalance of inductive and magnetic forces, periodically pushing and pulling magnetic vessels towards and away from the coils as the electrical current reverses direction. 


Water Organ behaves as a many-bodied "strange attractor" whose chaotic motion emerges through mutual magnetic repulsion between vessels combined with the changing magnetic polarity of copper inductive coils.  This work offers a calming natural meditative "Koi pond" like behavior, as if the organism's movement were an emergent murmuration of living agents.


Audible elements of this ambisonic composition can only be partially experienced through a stereo video recording.  It is best to experience the true omni-directional sound of this piece in-person.  

Materials:  recycled steel lids (sometimes glass petri dishes, sometimes acrylic dishes), custom wound copper coil inductors, recycled door stops, magnets, polycarbonate, nylon mesh, vinyl plastic, amplifiers, Teensy microcontroller

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