Grasp Pendulum, 2010

Ottobock headquarters, Berlin, Germany

Behind the glass façade and clearly visible from outside, Grasp Pendulum provides a visual introduction to the thematic area of Ottobock, a manufacturer of medical technology. The eight-metre high installation dominates the foyer of the Berlin headquarters. The theme of the artwork is the human grip. The installation consists of twelve double-sided monitors attached to three metal rods swinging on a central axis. The screens show virtual hands interacting from one screen to another.

The dramaturgy of the hand movements is based on different types of grip: a spherical grip for round objects, a hooked grip for narrow objects and a cylindrical grip for objects of cylindrical shape. These grips are staged in the form of choreographed movements, which are shown in a permanent loop. Virtual move­ment converts to real movement as the pendulums begin to swing. The interaction between virtual and real dynamics cul­minates in the hands pushing on virtual pendulum rods to increase the arc of the swing.

Technically, the kinetic sculpture is based on real-time control of the motors. The system registers the virtual hand movements on the screens and directly transposes these into real movements, synchronising the image and the swinging of the pendulum.

This principle also enables direct visitor engagement. When visitors place a hand on the light box interface, its silhouette is relayed onto one of the screens. Thus all screens can be sequentially filled with the visitors’ expressive hand gestures. Visitors can then influence the pendulum’s swing by wiping a hand across the interface.

Grasp Pendulum is a kinetic sculpture combining virtual and real movements in a dialogue inviting the audience to also become part of it.