Category : GENERAL
By Team Interfering Floating Bodies (Japan)
We have believed soap bubbles pop and burst easily. ”Interfering Floating Bodies” is an installation that challenges the notion. Bubbles float in mid-air in the glass bowl without falling. The surrounding is reflected in the bubble’s surface on all angles, and the rainbow-colored interference patterns on the surface constantly change in alluring ways. The sound and light synchronize with the movement of the soap bubble, which accentuates the beauty. The synchronicity is achieved by the digital technology, i.e., recognition of the bubble movement with a digital camera. The original beauty of bubbles unveiled in this work is beyond our imagination. We might not know how beautiful nature around us really is.
The glass bowl with a diameter of 120 cm is surrounded by monochrome cloths, which are hung on a wood frame. Mostly the cloths are white as they make the surrounding of the bubbles clear and flat. Conversely, the lower center area is black as it makes the color of bubbles become aesthetically visible from the angle of the viewer. Dry ice hidden in the glass bowl sublimates to be carbon dioxide (CO2). Carbon dioxide is heavier than soap bubbles, thus, bubbles float in the bowl filled with CO2. A bubble generator and a digital camera to sense the colored bubbles are placed behind the ceiling of the wood frame. The generator and the camera are controlled by a digital fabrication tool “Compact computer Raspberry Pi“. The tool makes the synchronicity between visual effects, sound and the bubble movement possible. The video is projected from the ceiling to the cloth behind the glass bowl, and the sound is from speakers behind the cloth.
YouFab 2016 began by redefining the concept of Fab to broaden it to include that which transcends and combines the digital and physical realms, and not simply define it as creative works made using digital fabrication tools such as 3D printers and laser cutters. I liked this entry because it beautifully represents the middle ground between the lightness of the digital realm and the heaviness of the physical realm through the alluring medium of bubbles, and it creates this new experience that is half natural / half artificial by capturing the movements of the bubbles not in their natural form, but through a camera with sound and visuals. It also pushes the boundaries of Fab in the sense that it encourages us to rethink the definition of Fab as it is one of those entries that doesn’t quite fit into to any of the existing genres.
This piece was originally made as an entry for an art hackathon in the fall of 2015, in the frame of KENPOKU ART 2016, an art festival in Northern Ibaraki Prefecture, by a team of experts whose presentation was selected allowing them to bring their idea to life as an exhibit piece. I encountered it when I served as curator for KENPOKU ART, so I was hesitant to push hard for it, but I didn’t have to in the end as it was very highly evaluated by the other judges. The bubbles floating without falling in the glass bowl invite people in to a fantasy world that has never been seen before, along with sounds and images that change in response to the delicate movements. This work connects art and science brilliantly, and it also creates an opportunity for us to once again get a closer look at the beauty of nature. Lastly, I would also like to make note that this works was able to withstand 65 days of continuous operation during the period of the festival.
Floating bubbles were the visual cue that attracted me and opened up my emotions to the rest of the piece. Wireless and anti-gravity is magical. However, the true magic for me was the synchronization of floating bubbles, reflections, sounds, and video curated by dried ice and raspberry Pi - a brilliant symphony of digital and analogue components. It is more magical to see it in action than looking at the still images.
This project is a poetic way to interface physics, music, nature and art thanks to digitization. Seeing a bubble rotating in the same place is hypnotizing. I saw this project only on video and I think that I will get more emotions by seeing my own eyes. I like how this project plays with the random and chaotic motion of bubbles.
The floating bubble is so pleasant to watch and quite mesmerizing. It must take a great artist and a sensible technician to achieve such a gentle balance of this piece of art. We were wondering what the liquid mixture was to create such strong bubbles that could continue bobbing for hours on end.
Congratulations to the creators of Interfering Floating Bodies for a beautiful piece of art.