Static Machine

r.brown static machine

Static Machine 2007

An electrostatic kinetic sculpture.
The movement of the copper tongues is generated by the attraction and repulsion of induced static electrical charge. A high voltage ioniser circuit generates the static charge at the base of the sculpture. Energy flows around the sculpture via the oscillating copper tongues causing the neons to glow as the machine attempts to dissipate electrical energy. The tongues act as capacitors, accumulating and moving the charge upwards with excess energy being spent via the spark gap.
The machine can be viewed as an analogue computer constantly trying to balance charge dissipation over charge accumulation through the physical movement of electrical charge.
Though apparently a simple kinetic device, a digital simulation of the complex behaviour of static machine would probably be well nigh impossible due to the many interacting complex processes and parameters – the changing humidity and ionisation gradients in the air within the work, the varying mechanical properties of the copper tongues, the varying and complex interdependencies of charge induction in time and space, the electrical characteristics of the neon. Pask would have appreciated the fact that these complex interactions could only be realised as a physical machine and perhaps used it to justify his view one the digital computer as a “kinematic magic lantern”.

Static Machine from mimetics on Vimeo.

Static Machine - studio recording from mimetics on Vimeo.

Pask Present - Färbergasse 6, A-1010 Wien || Curated by Richard Brown, Stephen Gage and Ranulph Glanville.