Liquid Sculpture

–Artistic Concept of “Liquid Sculpture”
This installation, named “Liquid Sculpture”, uses bubbles in the liquid to draw three-dimensional graphical patterns, simultaneously sound output coming out from speakers which are set into the floor corresponding with movement of bubbles. Therefore audiences can experience audio-visual effects using the media of bubbles and sound. Furthermore it has an interactive function to control both of the dynamic movement of bubbles in the liquid and sound in the air. The method of control is where the audience stands that is detected by 5 sensors of infrared rays. The selection of drawing three-dimensional pattern depends on the information of audience’s location. It means that body actions of the audience are used for the part of interaction.
Computer Graphic’s technology improves constantly and audiences soon become used to the latest advances. Even if Computer Graphic Artists use high quality technology, less people inspired by the work 3 months later. “Liquid Sculpture” tries to counter this indifference by using middle range technology and using air and sound as media. It materializes the environment to realize audio-visual information by real movement in the real world not in the virtual world.
Each bubble can be regarded as a pixel in a digitally produced image such as that displayed on a computer monitor. In doing this I am seeking to bridge the perceptual divide between analog and digital imaging. This concept can be summarized as “Analog expression with Digital technology, Digital expression with Analog elements”.

–Introducing the system of “Liquid Sculpture”
The installation is a cylindrical acrylic tank, 60cm in diameter, 210cm height, filled with high viscosity liquid. There are 249 air outlets in orderly matrix at the bottom of tank. The air compressor sends air to outlets through hard plastic tubes. For controlling dynamic movement of bubbles, there are 249 electromagnetic valves connected to each outlets with hard plastic tubes and set under the tank that are opened and closed remotely from Macintosh computer. Surrounding tank, orderly matrix of 249 audio speakers are set into the floor like arrangement of air outlets at the bottom of the tank. 5 sensors of infrared rays are also set into the floor. The size of floor is 500cm wide, 500cm deep, 22cm height, and made of 51 wood plates.
MAX/MSP software running on a Macintosh computer takes core part of the system for controlling “Liquid Sculpture”. It materializes some functions, process of detected information by sensors, selection of three-dimensional pattern, controlling electromagnetic valves and audio speakers simultaneously, signal processing for sound output. The controlling orders from MAX/MSP are MIDI data. To translate MIDI data to the electric signal to control the real machines I use the microcomputer boards with H8 Microprocessor chip that.

–The explanation of how the system of “Liquid Sculpture”works.
When a audience stands at the one of the 5 patterns printed on the floor (circle, square, triangle, swirl and wave), the infrared rays sensor placed in the center of pattern detects it. The information of detection is sent to Macintosh computer immediately. Then the computer controls opening and closing electromagnetic valves remotely to draw three-dimensional graphical pattern of bubbles associated with the selected pattern on the floor. The place of sound outputs from speaker corresponds to the place of bubble. If bubbles draw the three-dimensional spiral pattern so that the audience can recognize sound moving around the water tank and vibration of moving sound.
Audience experience the unexpected feeling in this area of “Liquid Sculpture” with bubbles and spatial sound.


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