Uncanny Action of the Mind and Soul

(04, 2014)

Uncanny Action of the Mind and Soul was a kinetic installation formerly installed in Northeastern University’s Ryder Hall.  Consisting of a suspended steel ring supporting five radial arms which, in turn, affix loops of knitted yarn, the piece reacts to movement of passersby.  When motion is detected within the vicinity of the work, the arms create chaotic movement in the yarn below, accentuated by embedded multicoloured lights, in reaction to the density and flow of pedestrians.  Uncanny Action was inspired by  the chaotic dynamic systems found in nature and the interaction of biology and machine,  influenced by an earlier motion study using paper and nitinol wire.  The piece references the diffusion of structure and causality in inherently arbitrary systems, utilising precise and technical mechanisms to produce unpredictable chaotic effects that are indirectly influenced by observers. Uncanny Action is driven by custom firmware running on an Arduino operating five servo motors, twenty-seven LEDs, and two optical proximity sensors. Uncanny Action of the Mind and Soul would not have been possible without the generous support of Benjamin Caras, Gilbert Yap, Benjamin Wagner, Jenny LaPierre, and Michael Janov.