Listening to the elements

A sound installation consisting of quantities of the elements of nature on display, each with a speaker playing the sound spectrum consisting of the light spectrum of the element transposed into audible frequencies.

For example, we could use a simple transformation of light wavelength (measured in nanometers) transposed into sound frequency (measured in Hz). Then the element sodium would consist of a dual-tone sound from 588.9950 and 589.5924 nanometers (approx 589 and 589.6 nm) into (589 and 589.6 Hz). The beat frequency would be too low to hear in this case. The sound itself would be slightly sharper than a

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Weight exchanger

When we lose body weight from fat, we lose it primarily by exhaling carbon dioxide. ( The weight exchanger is a device that the user blows into and which collects the carbon dioxide from the exhalation, thereby increasing in weight by the amount that the user decreased. The collection is done via a carbon scrubber. The flow rate could be measured to estimate the weight of carbon dioxide transferred and a cumulative total displayed. Or the weight of the scrubber can be measured to see it increase with each exhalation.

Possible components:

Activated carbon for scrubber (

Milligram scale (

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Science space as gallery space

The basic idea is to treat an operating scientific workspace (offices and labs, for example) as if it were a gallery space with the people and items in it labeled as if they were either artworks (for objects) or specimens (for people). There would be a whole series of small placards just like in a gallery, including details of the work and an informational statement about the artwork/object, specimen/person.

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Atomic exchange

An outline of a body is drawn on a table, not as in a crime scene but as in a body lying calmly on its back. Placed within the outline are the ephemera of existence that a body typically carries. This might include coins, handkerchiefs, train tickets, pocket fluff, a necktie, and just about anything found inside a wallet, purse, or handbag.

On a small pedestal next to the body outline is a pile of business-size cards that read: “This certifies the accompanying object as part of the piece ‘Atomic exchange’ exhibited at ”.” Also on the pedestal is an instruction

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Proposal: Neutrino flux

Note: This is a modified version of “Walking with neutrinos


Visitors will experience the ephemeral and mysterious nature of the subatomic particle called the neutrino as they move through this work, interacting with it occasionally and briefly. In the process, they will see the effects of their localized interactions spreading beyond their reach, with the ability to influence others.

The work will consist of 12 six-foot-tall ¼” acrylic tubes suspended with the bottom end about 2 feet from the floor. Each will be illuminated by an RGB LED so can glow any color desired. In the “quiet” state, each tube

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Physical programming

Physical programming is an overlap between algorithm implementation, science discovery, and performance art using groups of people as calculational tools. The first iteration of physical programming involves four potential projects:

1. Calculating pi: Buffon’s needle

Have people lie flat and straight at random positions in a room and video from above. Superimpose parallel lines on the video and use Buffon’s needle technique to calculate pi.

Expected result: A numerical estimate of pi.

2. Showing interference of waves

Have a set of ropes coming from two poles. The ropes are all integer multiples of some “wavelength” in length. Each person chooses a rope at random from

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Pi with people

A performance piece that calculates the value of pi by having people lie at random in a room and superimposing a set of parallel lines on it so that the Buffon’s needle experiment can be conducted. By having a set of people repeatedly lie at random, or having a large set of people lie at random, a value for pi can be calculated.

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Proposal: Cyclohexane chair/boat


A physical object that exists in two conformations–the chair and the boat–that seats one person. The shape is dictated by the conformations of cyclohexane. (Cyclohexane is a ring of six single-bonded carbon atoms, unlike benzene which has alternating single and double bounds. It has one of a few specific three-dimensional configurations, again unlike benzene, which is planar.)

By manipulating the object, it can be changed from chair to boat, and the object should work as both a chair and a boat. An inflatable frame makes up the cyclohexane backbone and a stretchable waterproof fabric is attached to the frame. Lockable

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Proposal: Self-portrait with telescope (via the moon)

The concept

An image taken through a telescope pointed at the retroreflectors on the moon. The image in principle then consists of a photograph in a mirror of the photographer with the telescope.

Whether this makes a compelling image is in the eye of the beholder, but it is only of significance if the technique for taking the photograph is known.

Simulated image below (yes, it just looks like one pixel)


The science

Retroreflectors bounce light back along the incident path so act like a plane mirror but from all angles and with the image

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Proposal: Walking with neutrinos


What would it look like to see the flux of neutrinos passing through us at all times? What if a representation were able to show the real data of a neutrino detector that is impossible for most people to visit or get a sense of because it is buried deep under Antarctic ice?

A set of 86 colored-light stations would be arrayed on the surface of the Earth in the same configuration as the strings in the IceCube neutrino detector in Antarctica. Each station will light up with a particular color corresponding to the energy of the neutrinos passing

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