chevron_left chevron_right twitter_sign facebook_sign double_angle_left double_angle_right angle_left angle_right youtube vimeo_square _525 _526 align_justify reorder envelope_alt _419 download_alt

Detectors [2008]

Kinetica Museum at Rove Gallery, Hoxton, London

Detectors took the idea of the metal detecting robots from The Theremin Lesson and Circles of Ether and used them to create a self contained automatic installation, consisting of two mechanical sculptures with roving, oscillating arms. One machine held a metal detector at the end of the arm, the other an electro-magnetic coil. Two other sculptures had oscillating loudspeakers at the apex of a tripod. A light sensor mounted at the top of the loudspeaker detected light levels and turned the difference into a changing musical pitch.

This set of sculptures used three different methods of using sound as a means of evidencing invisible phenomena. Light detectors detected light levels, a metal detector detecting the proximity of metal and a coil of wire connected to an amplifier detected sources of electro-magnetic radiation. Sources such as metal, lights coming on and off, and electro-magnetic radiation generated from mains transformers and flash guns, were positioned as a kind of sonic bait waiting for the action of the oscillating machines to detect them.


The robots were driven using oscillating windscreen wiper motors. The metal detector was from a dissembled army surplus hand held metal detector. As it approached a source of metal a simple electronic tone would rise in pitch. The electro-magnetic coil was connected to an amplifier. A live mains transformer produced a mains hum and a flash gun activated by a reed switch a triggered by a magnet on the end of the roving arm were detected by the coil and the resulting sound amplified. The two oscillating speakers used light sensors that converted light levels into a rising or falling pitch. By adjusting the pitch sensitivity to its lowest a very low popping of the speakers could be generated. Timer switches activated by PIR sensors kept the installation working for a period of minutes once triggered.

Supported by:

Kinetica Museum

Touring / restaging:

A2 Galeria, Budapest 05/12/2008 – 05/02/2009