"Nave Solar", 2011
projectors, computers, surveillance cameras, PA system, steel-aluminium-plasterboard sphere, custom-made software running Navier-Stokes, Perlin noise, fractal flames and reaction-diffusion equations
dimensions variable (sphere 19.7 ft / 6 m in diameter)
"Nave Solar" is an interactive installation designed for the former convent of San Diego, site of the catholic inquisition in Mexico City, now Laboratorio Arte Alameda. A six meter in diameter sphere hangs from the dome of the interior of the church, half the size of the nave itself. Projected onto the sphere is a real time simulation of the activity that occurs on the solar corona, the upper atmosphere of the sun. The images projected on the sphere are generated by mathematical equations that engender turbulence, flares, ejections and sunspots, mixed with more recent imagery obtained by NASA's solar observatories. A camera detects the movement of the public, feeding the equations so that the behaviour of the sphere changes depending on the activity in the exhibition hall. The Sun has 11 different seasons each of which also has its own parametric sound environment.
From this "fake sun" a rope hangs to the floor level of the nave. This rope allows visitors to swing over the entire nave and their pendular motion influences the solar equations above: if no one participates the Sun is quiet and calm, as there is movement the projections get more turbulent and the Sun begings to rotate along its vertical axis. The shadow of participants is projected onto the apse of the church and a second tracking system automatically generates smoke which is mapped onto the architecture in such a way that it accumulates on the ceiling of the apse.
The installation is inspired by the Christian Botafumeiro, the Foucault pendulum demonstrating the rotation of the earth, or the form of torture and execution of the Inquisition that Edgar Allan Poe described in his 1842 story "The Pit and the Pendulum". Nave Solar is designed to evoke the myth of Icarus, the TV games of Luis Manuel Pelayo, and the synchronization of pendulum clocks that Huygens discovered in 1665.
Video courtesy of the artist and bitforms gallery nyc.