© 2011 Deana Tsang

Ferrofluids

Morpho Towers – Two Standing Spirals by Sachiko Kodama

And that is why I want to study materials science.

I know this is an old, popular video that many people have probably seen already but I thought it deserved a place on my website, especially considering my interest in the coupling of art/design and modern material technology.

This installation piece by Sachiko Kodama uses the visual appeal of ferrofluids. She uses two columns in this piece, each rhythmically moving to the magnetic field induced by the music. The result is stunning; the characteristics of the fluid material suit their purpose perfectly, creating a soothing and mesmerizing visual show that also compliments and responds naturally the audio.

The surface of the tower responds dynamically to its magnetic environment.
When there is no magnetic field, the tower appears to be a simple spiral shape. But when the magnetic field around the tower is strengthened, spikes of ferrofluid are born; at the same time, the tower’s surface dynamically morphs into a variety of textures ranging from soft fluid to minute moss, or to spiky shark’s teeth, or again to a hard iron surface. The ferrofluid, with its smooth, black surface that seems to draw people in, reaches the top of the tower, spreading like a fractal, defying gravity.

The general intertwining of technology and art is what truly captivates me in this piece and the use of a magnetic field, in order to create it, strangely gives both man made and natural impressions. The way the ferrofluid moves gives me the impression that it is alive as it reacts to the sound, almost creature-like.

You can read more of the science behind the ferrofluid art here and be sure to check out Sachiko Kodama’s website here where you can see more of her metallic work.

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