The surface of the moon, so often likened to appearance of a fine cheese or even a man’s face, is inundated with craters. These carved valleys are caused by collisions of meteorites, both billions of years ago and quite recently.
A new dynamic sculpture created for the London Design Festival visualizes these impacts in what the designers describe as “a half digital, half natural landscape of optical phenomena.” Spectra, an installation by London-based designers at Accept & Proceed and digital arts studio Field, is a hanging sculpture made of stainless steel triangles controlled by circuit boards and motors. It moves in corresponding waves and impacts inspired by a series of meteor showers.
Over the course of three hours, the installation visualizes NASA data from meteorite impacts on the moon between May 2006 and May 2014. The sculpture hangs above the ground, inspired by the relative lack of atmosphere on the moon’s surface. Each recorded impact, unique in size, intensity, duration, and origin. shows up on the digital display near the sculpture, while the sculpture itself responds kinetically. A soundtrack changes according to the impact, too.
“The mass of data that drives the installation contrasts with its very minimal design, creating an abstract sculptural expression of cosmic events that took place thousands of miles away,” according to Vera-Maria Glahn, managing director at Field, a digital arts studio whose previous works have included an iPad app that remixes animated stories, and an online first-person drone simulator. Spectra’s complex installation required engineering, software, and sound design from Laurence Symonds, Owen Hindley, Eduard Prats Molner, and Jochen Mader, in addition to the design by Field and Accept & Proceed.
“We all loved this quite poetic notion that a very small event, very far away, could have a huge impact, so we developed this into the narrative backbone of the piece,” the designers write.