The Everyday Ephemeral

An installation that records the intangible traces of energy between people and space, materializing it through rust on metal.

As an exploration of the subject Embodied Interaction within the interaction design master program at Malmö University, we created an installation that aims to question the nature of the archiving practice: The Everyday Ephemeral.

Notice that the wood shelf is also left with traces of the liquid.

Composed of 3 different cores, the rust installation was set up at the Orkanen library, at Malmö University. The first core captures the amount of people’s movements and light in the room through sensors (we call the combination entropy), sending it over to the second core, which, according to the amount of entropy, drips an equivalent amount of liquid over a strip of metal, creating instant rust. As the liquid drips during 6 hours, the strip of metal is pulled through its stand, thus creating a timeline that represents the entropy of the room through the rust. The third and last core is a “monumental” archive. A combination of 4 strips of metal that went through the rusting process will hang at the Orkanen library as an archive of the 24 hours of recorded entropy. This piece of archive symbolizes a monument, which celebrates the first materialization of entropy of the Orkanen library. This monument and its content aims to critique the authoritarian archive practice of focusing on the recording of grand events by praising the mundane instead (the everyday people’s intangible traces left in the room).

Year: 2016
My role in the project:

  • Concept development;
  • Physical prototyping;
  • Arduino and Processing coding.
The Everyday Ephemeral installed at the Orkanen Library
The Everyday Ephemeral installed at the Orkanen Library
The Everyday Ephemeral from a different angle at the Orkanen Library.
The Everyday Ephemeral from a different angle at the Orkanen Library
Close look on the trails of rust left on the metal sheet.
Close look on the trails of rust left on the metal sheet.
The bottle drips a mix of water, salt and vinegar.
The bottle drips a mix of water, salt and vinegar.
We tried everything we could to straighten the metal.
We tried everything we could to straighten the metal.
Because the metal isn’t perfectly straight, the rusting liquid doesn’t leave a perfectly straight trail, which creates a rather interesting visual aesthetic.
Notice that the wood shelf is also left with traces of the liquid.
Notice that the wood shelf is also left with traces of the liquid.
Close shot on a piece of the rust trail.
Close shot on a piece of the rust trail.
Close look at the brains behind the installation.
Close look at the brains behind the installation.
Initial experimentations with material. In the beginning we also tried to modify the properties of textile and wood.
Initial experimentations with material. In the beginning we also tried to modify the properties of textile and wood.
We also experimented with copper. The result didn't feel "engraved" enough in the material, for the colour difference was too contrasting.
We also experimented with copper. The result didn’t feel “engraved” enough in the material, for the colour difference was too contrasting.
Experimenting with the amount or dripping per second.
Experimenting with the amount or dripping per second.
Me working on some code magic.
Me working on some code magic.
Me and Erica trying to make liquid and eletronics work together.
Me and Erica trying to make liquid and eletronics work together.
Erica doing heavy work at the carpentry.
Erica doing heavy work at the carpentry.

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