FRANK BLUM

Selected Works

Spinresonator

Visualization of elementary magnetism, the spin of electrons.
Design and realization for the Max Planck Institute for Microstructure Physics.

The viewer is invited to rotate the small spheres.

On the surface of the large acrylic sphere the 120 small spheres are mounted on ball bearings in such a way that they can rotate around their axis. Inside the large sphere there is an atomic model made of brass tubes. From there, 6 white LEDs light up a 3-dimensional freely rotatable magnet in the center of the atomic model.

The magnetic fields of the individual spheres mutually influence each other. By rotating a sphere, the spheres surrounding the sphere also rotate. However, their motion is inhibited by the effects of the magnetic fields of the adjacent non-moving spheres. A domain formation takes place. If several spheres are rotated at the same time, whole domains are formed anew. With different positions of the spheres, some spheres have more influence on the total magnetic field in the center of the object, which is visualized by the 3-dimensional freely rotating magnet.

Cranes Oracle

An interactive video installation Create artificial cranes, let them fly with the real cranes using pattern recognition. Trigger soundscapes and pentatonic sounds with areas you can mark in the video.

Since time immemorial, the formations of crane flight inspired many cultures around the world and integrated it into their culture and religion. From Egyptian, Celtic, Greek, Chinese, African, Aztec cultures, to name a few, it was believed that the crane flight gives a glimpse into the future.

Thus, the crane and its flight are associated with fertility, birth, spring, vigilance, prudence, good fortune, longevity, and caution, among other things. As a practice of prediction, oracles have always had a high social acceptance and especially in ancient times oracles were considered the dominant form of foresight.

This function has been taken over today by algorithms, which already dominate large areas of our lives and whose influence will continue to grow strongly. Google searches, YouTube and Facebook filter bubbles, facial recognition, online shopping, lending, autonomous driving, dating, encryption, predictions, scoring, artificial intelligence, etc.

In short, they are omnipresent, but hardly anyone knows how they work and what a huge impact they have on us. The methods of deep learning and reinforcement learning are gaining an ever larger share. In the end, it is no longer obvious to humans why certain results come about.

The viewer is invited to click on an area of the video on the ipad and let artificial, abstract cranes emerge there, which are made to fly along with the swarm that is located at this spot by image recognition algorithms.

Due to errors and inaccuracies of the algorithms, they sometimes lose their flock and continue flying alone.

The viewer can mark several areas in the image where tones of a pentatonic scale and warning and luring calls of the cranes are triggered when an artificial crane flies through this area.

This creates an interactive, meditative video/sound/music collage that is constantly recreated through interaction of the viewer, algorithms and their errors, and playfully deals with the theme of algorithms and their imponderables.

Technical setup:

Computer with different software for pattern recognition, interaction and music,video beamer, 4m screen, sound system, ipad for viewer input, the ipad is installed in the middle of the room in front of the screen.

Magnetron

The viewer is invited to dissolve the tinder structures with a brush, which over time always return to be reminiscent of an infinity or YinYang sign. Chaotic structures that get reordered through circular movement again and again. Playing with the magic of invisible forces that make the inorganic tinder appear organic and alive.

Magnetron consists of a 60x60cm wooden box with patinated copper sides.
On the top a white acrylic plate is embedded, which is illuminated from below. On the acrylic plate there are thin platelets of tinder.
Tinder is iron oxide that flakes off the steel when it is forged red hot. It is magnetic and aligns along magnetic field lines in the magnetic field.
Under the acrylic glass pane, not visible, are two turntables that partially overlap and slowly rotate once per minute.
Magnets in a Fibonacci pattern are attached to the turntables in such a way that the magnetic forces repeatedly bring the tinder into new but similar constellations.

coded

a media dance performance

coded is a cross disciplinary media performance that blends different fields of science to create performing art technologies. This work has been made in collaboration with the GfAI (Society for the Promotion of Applied Computer Science) and the Fraunhofer Institute IZM Berlin. Their support provided us with possibilties in finding different arrays of artistic expression and reflecting on technology.

coded is visualizing sound and performs body triggered composition as well as visual creation. It is implementing the acoustic camera, the wearable neuro T-shirt, the Kinect and the use of the tangible tool of camera tracking, known as Reactivision.

The challenge of the performance is to stretch these devices by (re)formulating their different technical needs and aesthetic uses, thus enhancing further development and applicaton of these devices in the fields of sound, visuals and dance.

coded is making use of existing technologies (e.g. acoustic camera, wearable neuro T-shirt) which has been developed for various industries for different purposes.

coded is placing these devices in a performative context to construct an awareness of surveillance and forming new considerations on the relationship of the “public” body and technology. Through the real time response it is visualizing those relationships as dynamic morphologies. Furthermore it is raising questions of how much the bodily world is moving in an algorithmic grid and how much of our actions can be predicted or coded.

Duration of performance: 25 min

Read more detailled information

Isolator Magnetique

A set of three large high voltage insulators containing ferrofluid in a petri dish.
Three strong electromagnets are attached under the Petri dishes, which are rhythmically alternating on, off and reversed. The black liquid migrates between the three poles and aligns itself with the magnetic field lines. Anorganic life!

Ferrofluid is a black liquid that is attracted to the poles of a magnet and visualize magnetic field lines. It is a colloidal liquid made of nanoscale ferromagnetic particles suspended in a carrier fluid.

Naphthalene

is an organic compound with the formula C10H8. It is the simplest polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon. The structure of naphthalene consists of a fused pair of benzene rings resembling an infinity sign. It is best known as the main ingredient in traditional mothballs and highly volatile.

The installation Naphthalene depicts the atomic structure of naphthalene. The illuminated spheres hang at eye level in the room. The larger spheres represent the carbon atoms and each has two slide viewers built in at eye level. The slide viewers display 3D photos of the entire installation. For each sphere, the perspective is inserted as if viewing the object from one meter away. Looking into the two viewers, one has the feeling of having gone back one meter.

Inside is outside.