Reeds, motors, control boards, Macintosh computer.
This is a kinetic installation consisting of 128 clusters of reeds, each about
5 feet (1.5m) tall, which are moved under computer control as if the wind were blowing.
It has been made for a gallery 25 feet by 50 feet (8m x 16m), but a smaller space
could also be used.
Concept: The gentle movement of the reeds creates a very physical, but eerie, presence, owing to one seeing the movement without feeling the wind.
Materials: The 128 kinetic units are each made of an 8ä square piece of 3/4ä plywood with four small DC motors (low voltage) attached. The parts that touch the floor are either wood or plastic (cable ties) as well as the plastic insulation of the wires used to send 8 Volts to each unit and the control lines which lead back to the computer. The motorized units are each covered up with a sheet of paper.
Space& infrastructure requirements: the gallery floor, plus some space to accomodate the computer, which can be placed on a table, in a box, or in an adjoining room -- this is flexible, but the computer should not be visible. If it is possible to pass a small diameter wire to the outdoors (for a wind sensor), this is helpful, but not essential to the piece. Another possibility is to link the movement of the reeds to a wind sensor in another city, via the Internet, if access is available.
Safety considerations: Although a 110V/220V connection is needed for the computer and the power supplies, there are not more than 10V DC present in the piece, ergo, it is harmless to visitors. There is no risk of injury from moving parts, since these are only tiny motors which develop little force, just enough to cause the reeds to sway as if in the wind. The wires which crisscross the floor never carry more than 10V DC.
I intend to develop certain aspects of the movement and the political/economic ramifications more in subsequent installations of the piece, juxtaposing the gentle movement of the reeds with spoken texts about urban economic power and its historical/present relationship to nature.