Particles, light spheres creating space


In the darkness our sense of place, space and time diminish and we are as lost as we are free to navigate. We are like particles adrift and while we may not require darkness to remind us, the LED-implanted synthetic spheres utilized in this installation by Daito Manabe and Motoi Ishibashi do just this. As the spheres track downward, along a multi-tiered, figure-8 shaped microrail track [7.5 x 8 meter] structure, a variety of patterns ephemerally emerge from the darkness. With the lights off, our perception of dimension constantly shifts without axis. The track is invisible and the spheres appear to be floating as the installation turns the Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media [YCAM] into a space with the darkness of a cave. The patterns generated appear abstract and adimensional, enticing visitors try to find connections or a semblance of geometric order in a similar manner to how our ancestors gazed at the stars for navigation. As the balls are asynchronously released from the top, any number of the spheres may appear illuminated at any one time. The patterns, however, change using algorithmic calculation based on specifically embedded sensors spaced out along the track. At times an axis is detectable and while the spheres appear to float aimlessly they maintain a sense of [spatial] unification when luminescent. With the special ‘control points’ along the rail and an embedded infrared sensor, the position of a sphere is transmitted as data which a central computer processes to regulate the luminescence of each sphere as well as the soundtrack generated- one akin to the oscillation of a cicada swarm. When the spheres have completed the track, they are carried up via a discreet conveyor belt system much like a bowling alley. As we wander through the installation in the dark, the temporally cohesive patterns that emerge as the particles appear and reappear generate the ideas of randomness and pattern identification at an unlikely and ambiguous intersection. The installation continues to reset itself, drawing us closer to experience the physical and spatial sensations of a twenty-first century digital cave.

Vicente Gutierrez