Self Organizing Still Life

David Fried, Self Organizing Still Life (SOS), Terra Incognita

As far as I know, this is the only piece in the show that moved based on sound. Since this wasn’t at all apparent, you were advised by an unprepossessing sign to make noise—how unusual!

We approached from the side without the sign, though, and I didn’t see it until after we’d been there for a while. We took our advisement from a volunteer who encouraged people to clap, or alternately to be quiet. I never did figure out if it was loudness or tones that affected the motion more.

The marble surface was highly polished, and I liked the subtle reflections of the balls, analogous I guess to a watery surface.

Fried added three “ropes” (as in a boxing ring) to keep the balls corralled, but they were close to the marble, meaning your eye was drawn to the balls and their surface rather than the edge-limits. The volunteer said there were clever magnets below that did the motion part, but I don’t know how.