The Electromagnetic Fountain

The Screaming Fountain

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Michelle Teran has provided a name to my urban fountain idea posted earlier – the Screaming Fountain, I like it and I’ll keep it! At least for the time being. Anyway, since attending the Maxwell City workshop I have been doing some thinking about how to go about making the fountain, asking for advise from fountain folks from industry/design/art worlds.

One of the people I have contacted, and who I hope will reply to me, is Koert van Mensvoort who is part of a team in Amsterdam who worked on a Datafountain. It has 3 water jets controlled by the ebb and flow of the value of the yen, euro and dollar – (¥€$). The site provides some interesting information about how the fountain frame/design process went, I can’t find too much technical information about the pump, valves, nozzles, electronics and programming.

I have had several conversations about this project with my partner, Per Platou, who has questioned the relativity of my fountain idea in terms of art. Is it more relevant as public decor? Well …… my answer is that it could be both. A fixed fountain could fall into the last category, but a mobile fountain could be a performative work.

My current aim is to make a prototype fountain, self contained and relatively easily transportable. It can be placed in different environments/locations, indoors and outdoors in urban spaces. Each new location should produce different screams and dances. So the fountain’s activity is emergent. If I can produce a working prototype, and through it, get some attention, find a suitable location, perhaps I could move on to phase 2 – the fixed fountain – having more idea about the demands of making such a thing.

I’ve purchased a water pump (Nautilas 200) which can produce a water stream of up to 1.5m. The pump is controllable (more/less power) so I can hook it up to a Lanbox/dmx box and pass the sound data from the EM sniffers to my mac and then use this to control the pump activity. The splashing effect of a 1.5m jet needs a pond/container of 3m in diameter to catch the splash. I have no place to try out the pump in my studio here in Oslo, so I’ll have to wait until I go to a cottage by the sea in Old Bitch Bay, south Norway to do some experimenting.

I have suggested to Gisle Frøysland of Bergen Centre for Electronic Art (BEK) that I could bring my project to PIKSEL 07 – a yearly gathering of people working with Open Source audiovisual software, hardware and art – to get some input from other folks about modulating data/frequencies, etc etc. He thinks its a good idea, so I just hope I can afford to spend a week there ……..


Written by ajsteggell

July 15, 2007 at 3:07 pm

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