Magnetic Music Technology

Sachiko Kodama and Yasushi Miyajima have created a remarkable visual art installation which really puts software-based music visualisation programs to shame. It’s entitled “Morpho Towers — Two Standing Spirals“, and consists of two sculpted iron spikes sitting in a pool of ferrofluid.

Using a combination of meta-data embedded in a music file and corresponding fluctuations in the strength of the magnetic fields passing through the spikes, a fascinating rangeƂ of moving three-dimensional patterns are created on the ‘towers’, in time with the music. This is how they describe it:

When there is no magnetic field, the tower appears to be a simple spiral shape. But when the magnetic field around the tower is strengthened, spikes of ferrofluid are born; at the same time, the tower’s surface dynamically morphs into a variety of textures ranging from soft fluid to minute moss, or to spiky shark’s teeth, or again to a hard iron surface. The ferrofluid, with its smooth, black surface that seems to draw people in, reaches the top of the tower, spreading like a fractal, defying gravity. The spikes of ferrofluid are made to rotate around the edge of the spiral cone, becoming large or small depending on the strength of the magnetic field. In this work the speed of this rotation can be controlled without motors or shaft mechanisms – we simply control the magnetic power.

This really is a beautiful combination of science, technology, creativity and music and has to be seen to be appreciated. You can view a wmv video of the installation at the creators’ own site by clicking on the image, or go to the scifi blog for an embedded version.

Magnetic Spirals


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