Ada, an interactive installation by artist Karina Smigla-Bobinski, has traveled all over the world for years, but this new video of the piece in action is the first time I’ve been exposed to its wonderful chaos. It looks like a super-sized flu virus particle–but instead of spreading snot and fever, it stamps the white walls of the gallery with random scribbles.
The German-Polish artist created the ball using a transparent plastic membrane filled with helium. Dotting the balloon are charcoal spikes, which randomly mark the walls, ceiling, and floor of the exhibition space as visitors gently push it around. The piece’s title, Smigla-Bobinski says, comes from Augusta Ada King-Noel, the English writer, mathematician, and Countess of Lovelace. Commonly known as Ada Lovelace, she was the first programmer in history, creating the first algorithm for Charles Baggage’s Analytical Engine.
Lovelace was also the first person to see the potential of machines to move beyond calculus and into the realm of art. Ada, Smigla-Bobinski explains in a video, follows that spirit. Check out the making-of above.