[ISEA2014] Paper: Raphael Arar & Ajay Kapur – (+/‑) Pendulum


Inspired by the ISEA 2014 call for work on the theme Location, (+/‑) Pendulum is comprised of an electro‑mechanically operated kinetic sculpture that is driven based on user input from a participatory smartphone application. The basis of the installation is founded on the mechanics of the Foucault Pendulum. Unlike a conventional pendulum, the arm of the installation will operate horizontally using the same physical properties as if gravity is still impacting it. The intent of the work is to reflect on the intersection of our digital lives with our physical lives. While the Foucault Pendulum was created in the mid‑19th Century to exemplify the Earth’s physical properties, we now live in an era where the aspects of physicality may not bear as much weight.(+/‑) Pendulum’s operation is thus based on user input from a smartphone application which asks the question ‘Where do you want to be?’. From collective user input, an average of all data points orient the pendulum to a collective desired location, which seeks to show that our world is not flat, round or oblong—it is malleable and democratic in the digital sphere.

  • Raphael Arar, California Institute of the Arts, US, is an American artist whose work seeks to trace the trajectories of interpersonal and intrapersonal interaction in light of progress. These works manifest themselves in a variety of forms encompassing a synthesis of nostalgia and novelty often informed by scientific systems and humanistic research. His work has been shown at museums, conferences, festivals and galleries internationally. He lives and works in Los Angeles,.
  • Ajay Kapur is currently the Director of the Music Technology program (MTIID) at the California Institute of the Arts, USA, as well as the Associate Dean for Research and Development in Digital Arts. He received an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in 2007 from University of Victoria combining computer science, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, music and psychology with a focus on intelligent music systems and media technology. Ajay graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University in 2002. He has published over 80 technical papers and presented lectures across the world on music technology, human computer interface for artists, robotics for making
    sound and modern digital orchestras. His book ‘Digitizing North Indian Music,’ discusses how sensors, machine learning and robotics are used to extend and preserve traditional techniques of Indian Classical music

Full text (PDF)  p. 71-75