Spring Dragon Tail

Shangdu Li, Interactive Watertown Exhibition

Shanghai, CN - 2015

Chorusing granular synthesis-based interactive sound makes a whispering, murmuring ocean that ‘speaks’ interactively within the suspended canopy of the Chun Long Tiao ‘Spring Dragon Tail’ sculpture. The permanent acquisition by the Shangdu Li corporation opened October 2015 as part of the Interactive Watertown exhibition in Shanghai. The exhibition is part of the Shanghai Urban Space Art Season urban design series. The canopy floats within a glass-enclosed central theatre building that focuses urban development around a historic district of canals and gardens to the west of the urban core.

The environment is composed of a new series interlocking spiral clouds of acrylic and mylar aerial filters arranged around a densely massed inner chamber of glass, stainless steel and acrylic. The hexagonal cellular structural system of this chamber is interwoven with distributed sound and light networks. A necklace of sounding cells is triggered by overlapping triggers and sensor systems, including organic vinegar liquid batteries and proximity detectors tracking the gestures and position of occupants. Masses of Traube protocells are bedded in layered oils that provide balanced protective housings, supporting formation of delicate chemical veils within the glass manifold. Chains of high-power LEDs are fitted to the protocell vessels, providing stimulation for growth. The interactive systems feature the first generation of proprioreceptive sensors, enabling internal feedback within the networked ‘Teensy’ microprocessor control systems. This distributed system forms a testbed that can lead to machine learning.