Astrocyte was a first-generation spherical meshwork construction with interactive light, kinetics and sound developed for DX EDIT: Expo for Design, Innovation & Technology. The environment was installed within an abandoned massive space within the Unilever Detergent Factory, an iconic structure that stands as a landmark at the waterfront termination of the Don Valley Expressway in Toronto. Referencing the Greek word “astro” meaning star, and “kytos” meaning cell, Astrocyte was a floating sculpture of 300,000 components made of thermally-formed acrylic, mylar fronds, electronic sensors, 3D printed lights, inorganic chemicals and custom glasswork. The sculptural work merged chemistry, artificial intelligence and immersive soundscapes.
The distributed control systems that activated the sculpture followed densely bundled circuits formed into branching patterns that resemble a naturally occuring central nervous system within an organism. The sculpture’s system was able to support varying forces and shifting motions to respond to viewers’ movements with patterns of light, vibration and multichannel sound. This complex system was enveloped by a multichannel soundscape created in collaboration with Salvador Breed and Poul Holleman of the Netherlands-based collective 4DSOUND.
Research and Support
Fabrication and Installation
Manik Perera Gunatilleka
Soo Jung Woo