The Electromagnetic Fountain

Posts Tagged ‘Norway

EMF video documentation form Article 08

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Finally here is my video documentation from Article 08:

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More photos from Article 08

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EMF dawn_02 EMF_dawn_01

EMF dawn_03 EMF_watching

EMF_girls_02 EMF_girls_01

EMF_group EMF_curious

EMF at night (movie)

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By request from HC, and until I’ve checked out my camcorder recordings, here’s a movie of the EMF in Stavanger that I took with my cell phone at night ……..

Written by ajsteggell

November 18, 2008 at 6:41 pm

Automagic start up?

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So, I’ve been in Stavanger setting up the EMF for the Article 08 since Monday. It has been a constant, 20 hour/ day process of trial and error. Breifly ……

Luckily, before I arrived some hunky firemen filled the fountain bowl with water – necessary to stop it being carried away or tipped over.
Unluckily, the bowl was mucky when it arrived, and the water consequently very murky.

Dirty water

(Photo: Geir Tore Aamadal)

Luckily, I managed to clean the bowl today by taking out just enough water to keep the pumps running, using a cloth to remove the gunge, and filling the bowl up again with 56 buckets of water.

Luckily, the fountain appeared to survive its journey, with pumps and lights all working fine.
Unluckily, and as in Porsgrunn, the dmx relay box has been cutting out. The fountain runs for anything up to 9 hrs and then the relay box ceases to function.

Light splash

(Photo: Geir Tore Aamadal)

Luckily, the weather was okay for the first 2 days, and I had two very helpful assistants, Geir Tore and Evy, who even washed my dirty clothes for me.
Unluckily, the weather changed and it has been raining and windy – making it difficult to work outside.

Evy and me

(Photo: Geir Tore Aamadal, Evy on the left)

Unluckily, the computer is damaged and does not like starting up at all.
Luckily I buy a new one on down payment, which makes problem solving a lot easier.
Unluckily it contributes to breaking the budget.

Luckily Pepe is on hand to send me my Griffin usb sound interface (from Oslo) in an attempt to get a better sound input from the EM sniffer.
Unluckily the fountain does not respond favourably to it, so I go back to minijack/line sound input.

Luckily I manage to make contact with John of Milford Electronics (who sold me the relay box) who suggests various issues connected to my problem.
Luckily the problem seems to be resolved with a new power adapter.

Luckily, now everything seems to be working, Trond Lossius is on hand via Skype from Bergen to help me by making an “automagic” (is this a spelling mistake, or his humour?) start-up max/msp patch out of the one that is currently functioning.

13.17 hrs

Luckily, Geir Tore offers moral support, reading me Trond’s instructions, because I’m too tired to rely on my own brain operating sequentially.

Unluckily, once installed on the fountain’s mac, everything works except that the fountain’s water jet patterns do not change.

Luckily, Trond helps out, taking me through the various parts of the patch step by step to resolve the problem. Some of the max externals have not been copied over to the new mac, and I’m missing some column data that is vital for changing the aqua-ography.

Skype 15.33 hrs Skype 20.52 hrs

I am waiting for daylight to test the revised patch on the fountain. This is partly because of the wind and rain, and partly because I really need to see if the fountain keeps running (particularly the valves) for a longer period of time if I am going to leave it for 10 days on Monday.

Tomorrow it is Friday, which leaves one day left to get the EMF stable for the opening of the exhibition.

EMF public test run

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Between 12pm and 9am on 8-9th November the Electromagnetic Fountain went through a public test run before leaving for Stavanger to take part in Article 08, 15-30 November. It stood on the town hall square (Rådhusplassen) during “Kulturnatt” in Porsgrunn, Norway, and, though the weather was horrid for much of the time (rain, wind, hail) the fountain appealed to the people who managed to make it to the town square when the rain occasionally stopped:

EMF at Kulturnatt 01 EMF at Kulturnatt 02

EMF at Kulturnatt 03 EMF at Kulturnatt 04

EMF at Kulturnatt 05 EMF at Kulturnatt 06

EMF at Kulturnatt 07 EMF at Kulturnatt 08

The fountain performed beautifully for the first 7 hours. After that the 5 pentagon water jets stopped working. The reason was discovered the next day – a bad connection on the dmx relay box.

The exercise was very useful.

Setting the fountain up the day before the event took almost twelve hours! It was quite an ordeal:

The weather conditions:
Rain, wind, hail and very cold – made it hard to protect the electronics from getting wet during set up.
Solution: For initial set up, use a car boot to house a computer screen, keyboard and mouse. Use Remote Desktop after that (haven’t had time to set it up and try it out yet – so that’s something to prepare for in Stavanger.

Water leaks:

Fixing the leak

The leakage in the pumps and valves that should have been fixed previously were only attended to during the set up time.

The Antenna Box
The antenna box/cable was not finished until 17.30, at which point it started to get dark. I could not test the fountain properly until this had been done.

Fuse goes on start up:
The fuse that protects the electronics went several times when the fountain was turned on, and the mac mini did not respond favorably to this. It seemed like a critical situation, but all went well after a couple of cold start ups.
Solution: plug in the electricity with the fuses off, and then trun them on. This seems to work fine.

Though only the central water jet was working, I left the fountain on to run over night, primarily because I wanted to test the software for a longer period, which I haven’t had the opportunity to do before.

Sunday morning:

A small period of almost rainless conditions allowed Atle and myself to check out the problems with the fountain on Sunday morning. The software was still running fine, but ……

Signal failure to 5 valves:
The problem with the signal failure to the five electronic valves, though identified, is not yet really solved. I have no idea what caused the bad connection. It started to work when I took the dmx relay box out of the fountain base chamber to take a look at it.

Air accumulation in the water system:
There seems to be an accumulation of air in the water system after the fountain has been running a while. This affects mainly the pump that serves the 5 pentagon jets. The result, very low jets and a noisy pump that affects the VLF sniffer output.
Solution: make sure that the air is removed from the water system each day.

We just had time to check these things out and empty the fountain basin before the lorry arrived at 12.00 to transport it to Stavanger.

EMF in transit

I’ll have four days to set it up in Stavanger in preparation for the Article 08 exhibition, and I must admit that the task seems a bit daunting. I had hoped to attain a greater degree of stability by this time. The main problem has been the co-ordination of the construction and electrical work in relation to the demands of programming and testing the fountain, and has pushed my nerves (and probably everyone else’s) to the limits. However, I really enjoyed watching how people took to the fountain during the rainless periods, and, though I say it myself, I think it looks stunning at night!

The only thing to do is to remain positive, and hope for some undestanding in relation to the problems that need to be solved. Though a bit wet and windy at times weather does not look too hopeless from tommorrow evening until next Friday, with temperatures between 4-9 degrees. Wednesday may also see some sunshine:-)

EMF article in the Weekly Technical Magazine

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Here’s a link to an article about the Electromagnetic Fountain by Stein Jarle Olsen, published in the Norwegian Weekly Technical Magazine, 02.11.2008.

The article is called “Sprutende ingeniørkunst” in Norwegian, and I’m finding it hard to translate “sprutende” to English. Shooting, splashing? The best word I can hit on is ejaculating. Discussing the problem in the kitchen of Canadian artist (and my hostess with the mostess) Vicki Moulder, we come up with two alternative English titles:

1. Ejaculatory Engineering Art
2. The Art of Engineered Ejaculation
Other alternative suggestions welcome :-)

(photo by Stein Jarle Olsen)

Written by ajsteggell

November 2, 2008 at 9:00 pm

RGB lights arrive, but no relay box

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The 2 remaining RGB lights finally arrived today, but the relay box for the solenoid valves, expected at 13.00, still hasn’t made it through the post. It’s frustrating because I really want to see the whole thing up and running, and to make sure the pump that serves the solenoid valves is strong enough, and that the switch box/relay box system works too.

Last night brought with it some minor glitches, such as a potential risk of water spill flowing in to the electronics chamber from one of the bars supporting the fountain bowl, and a defunked blue colour on one of the RGB lights on a pentagon water jet. It takes 3 weeks to get hold of a new one – and we really don’t have time to hang around for it. I’m going to move the funky light out of the pentagon format and put it in the group of 3 that surrounds the central jet. I’ll try and aim this light at the top of the jet – it will always have a red/yellowish colour though. Another option is to get a white light from my studio in Oslo, and replace it with that.

So all that happened today was that Marius hooked up the 2 new lights and placed the funky one in the centre.

Under the fountain Cable work Light work

And just in case you are thinking that Marius is the only one getting dirty lying under the fountain – you are wrong! I do it too – but I’m the only one taking photos.

It’s extemely cold in the warehouse. And even colder when you’re wet. So once everything is up and running I’m planning to fill the bowl with warmish water and get my bikini on to focus the lights. I can’t reach the central ones without getting in the bowl, and I can’t focus them without the jets being at their full height.

Written by ajsteggell

October 22, 2008 at 11:12 pm