Mobility — Reflective Kinematronic II, 2010

World Expo Shanghai, China

Mobility — Reflective Kinematronic II references a form of communication that has almost been consigned to oblivion: the use of a mirror and sunlight to exchange information over long distances.

A grid of one hundred white prosthetic hands actuated by stepper motors, enabling them to rotate around their own axis, are mounted on a wall. Each hand holds a small mirror in a precisely calculated alignment. An adjacently positioned bright light source shines on this matrix covering approximately four square metres, causing the turning mirrors to cast small moving light spots across the space.

What initially seems like an asynchronous, chaotic pattern of movement soon reveals itself as complex, computational choreography: at first the hundred light spots move around a central point, akin to the celestial dynamics of the planets or the flight pattern of a swarm of insects, creating the impression of a three-dimensional space. Then suddenly this organic oscillation converges to form a Chinese character denoting movement and action. The spot’s movement is computationally designed and performs a wide spectrum of variations inviting the viewer to stay and watch.

Mobility captivates through the strong contrast between the corporeality and repetitiveness of the prosthetic hands and the immateriality and expressive power of moving light.

Ottobock commissioned the work for Expo Shanghai 2010. Mobility is now part of the permanent exhibition at the Ars Electronica Center in Linz, Austria.

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