"PDSTWE", Aug-Sep 2003, C.O.C.A. Seattle
NAME OF WORK:
Pond Machine II
NAME OF ARTIST:
William J. Beaty
Kinetic sculpture; computer/mechanical cellular automaton
Wall-mounted, somewhat flat, attaches to a wall at the top, approx
4ft vertical, 8 ft wide (will be wider if space permits.) It's heavy,
so four or more equally-spaced wall brackets at the top will connect to
its upper rail. It could easily be held a few inches out from the wall
if no flat walls exist.
Acrylic mirror strips, pen-motor galvanometers, PC, software, power supply.
Interaction added only if I finish the main work, or added later after
the opening. Hidden microphone to detect clapping. Light sensors along
the bottom edge to detect visitors walking past.
POND MACHINE II
COMPUTER, MIRRORS, PEN-MOTOR GALVANOMETERS
A wall-sized plastic mirror. The mirror is divided into 84 thin
vertical strips approx. 2" wide, each strip attached at the top to a
moving-coil galvanometer (galvo,) and hanging downwards. Each galvo
can deflect its mirror-strip slightly, which greatly moves the
reflected image. It resembles a mirror transformed into a venetian
blind, but with the plastic strips running vertically. When turned off,
all the plastic strips are hand-aligned to be flat, so it looks like a
large black mirror.
A PC outputs 100 analog channels, one to each galvo, and each galvo
deflects its mirror strip. So essentially the computer dynamically
sculpts the mirror array into a rippled surface with moving waves by
independantly controlling each galvo (and each mirror-strip angle).
Broad waves and tiny ripples can interpenetrate and march across the
array with different speeds and different directions. We can create
standing waves; bathtub-slosh effects or "chop." Invisible winds can
blow, riffling the "water surface." The system can simulate a falling
stone or a raindrop hitting the "water", and a correct ripple-pattern
will spread outwards from a point. (Of course the spreading ripples
will be long parallel waves, not the expanding circles of a real pond.)
CATALOG ENTRY DESCRIPTION
- It's positioned against a wall like a large canvas or any large
mirror, with the top edge at approx 6ft above the floor, bottom edge
at 2ft (and either 7ft wide or 15ft wide depending on space avail.)
It's attached at the top, with the mirror strips hanging down. It
could be within an inch of the wall, but depending on flatness, pipes,
etc., it could be brought out from the wall by 6in at most. It needs
to face a busy area with a scene to reflect. Mounting it in a hallway
would only work if the opposite wall was not blank.
- I'm planning on using a row of standard L-shaped shelf brackets
running along the top of the device and spaced approx every 24in.
These have 3 wall screws each. Total weight might approach 70lbs for
the smaller version. If the walls are concrete or sheetrock, we could
screw the brackets to a wooden rail at the top and then figure out how
to bolt the rail to the gallery wall.
- A (ribbon?) cable runs from the PC to the work. I can make a very
long cable if needed. It could drop down from the ceiling to keep it
- No high power, just a normal PC & small power supply (few hundred watts.)
No lighting (the mirror just reflects the scene in the gallery.)
Closeup of galvo array
Gallery opening, COCA Seattle, August 3, 2003
Links to similar projects
Created and maintained by
Bill Beaty. Mail me at: