Images by James Cox
Amber waves of acrylic plastic extend through the floor of a two-story, mechanized matrix in Breaking The Surface, a new interactive installation from Scandanavian Design Group, co-created with Ctrl+N, Abida, and Intek. The kinetic sculpture is meant to evoke an abstract image of the geological world below sea level, a nod to the technology used by the commissioning oil company, Lundin Norway.
Breaking The Surface can be enjoyed from two distinct views—below and above the 'surface.' On the lower level, the installation is a 23 x 23 grid of plastic stalactites hanging at just about face level. When people approach, the rods are retracted into the building's upper level, easily dodging the heads of passers-by while simultaneously inspiring a tide-like effect, not unlike the ocean of trash bag pixels that hypnotized us this past July.
The complex system of sensors, pipes, and moving mechanical parts is controlled by a customized openFrameworks setup—including several add-ons the designers created themselves—giving Breaking The Surface an air of exploration that suits the depths of its geographic inspiration. We're sure they made it completely airtight—though it can be fun to immersed in an incoming wave, no one wants to be hit with an unresponsive mechanical stalactite.