Please find below supporting images, video and descriptions relating to the 2015 NMeM Residency Proposal for Laser Scophony TV and accompanying pieces.
Project Nimbus (Lynch, Nix)
An ongoing collaboration between Nix and Lynch to develop a laser zoopraxiscope to project moving images onto clouds from a plane. Aside from the evident shared link with zoopraxiscopes in the museum collection, the project showcases the development and improvements made over an original light based technologies, modernising to not only use a laser for a more intense projection but also introducing a more efficient optical train.The iterative development process is reflective of the proposed development structure for the scophony TV, while also highlighting the historical route taken to develop modern technologies that may otherwise seem impervious to the understanding of the modern layperson.
Phase Revival (Andrews, Hughes, Lynch, Nix, Whitaker)
A set of lenses arranged as a Galilean pendulum results in this beautiful piece, set to a purpose-written score by John Hughes. The apparent interactions between pendula as they move in and out of phase are analagous to quantum mechanical vibrations of electrons.
Transient Graffiti (Molloy, Nix)
Conceived by Dr Mike Nix and refined at The Superposition’s first ASMbly lab in 2013. It is essentially a chemical Etch-A-Sketch made up of a very thin tank of safety glass in a wooden frame/ housing. Inside the tank is 3mm of spiropyran in a household solvent. When placed in sunlight the photo-chromic chemicals are excited by the ultra violet light, resulting in a colour change. Visitors can use light from a UV torch, which excites the molecules, to write and draw. What is beautiful about this piece is not only that it allows one to draw with light and so demonstrate molecular excitement, but that as the energy from the light dissipates, their drawings magically and, in an almost ghostly fashion, disappear after a few seconds. Luckily this takes slightly more time to occur than it takes to play a good game of noughts and crosses.
Nipkow Disk (in dev.)
Nipkow disks are simple circular disks with a spiral of holes emanating from the centre. As the disk turns, it has the appearance of transparency, as each individual pixel flies past at a sufficient rate to allow the latent image captured by the human eye to be overlayed the subsequent images. Used extensively in mechanical TVs, the disk allowed individual pixels to be recorded via a simple photodiode as either on or off, but rapidly enough that real-time motion could be recorded and encoded in electrical format. As these would be needed to make a working scophonic television, the group plans to make a small, hand turned demonstration piece that visitors would be encouraged to look through and play with. The unit would be self contained and kept to a minimal weight to encourage camera-like use.
Invisible Sculptures (Hopkinson, Molloy, Nix)
A selection of natural history objects twice cast in resin to leave only a feint three-dimensional ‘ghost’ of the original, encourage visitors to ‘probe’ the object with a torch, catching glimpses of singular slices of the 3D whole. This is highly analogous to the way in which a scientist builds up a three dimensional image of a molecular or chemi-physical structure using crystallography or scattered microscopy techniques, where the image is in fact a composite of multiple 2D-planar ‘slices’. These methodologies have had huge impact on science in the past, but are now helping to revolutionise medical studies as well.
Doctor Who’s Magic Speaker (Lynch, Molloy, Nix)
A one off sculpture that encodes sound onto a laser beam, before bouncing it around a set of mirrors and shooting it high off into space, where (theoretically) it could be picked up and decoded to hear the original music signal. The addition of a beam splitter mounted onto an actuator allows the audience to occasionally interrupt the beam path and instead transmit the signal to the speaker box mounted in the front casting. This is a direct application of acousto-optics, but also helps to imagine communications technologies in mixed audio-visual format as the beam encoding-decoding process is effectively the same as that used in modern telecommunications. Workshops to make your own ‘laser communicator’ could also be run to further illustrate these principles to the viewing public.
Additive vs Subtractive (Lynch, Molloy, Turner – in dev.)
Using ‘pixel blocks’ of tinted perspex/cellophane, visitors would be encouraged to build up copies of images from the museum collection. To do so requires multiple participants to work together to understand the underlying properties of light in additive colour mixing versus subtractive. One portion of this piece, therefore, will consist of three overhead projectors oriented to overlay their projections on top of each other, with custom built pixel grids affixed to the top of the projector box. By filling in the grid with either translucent or opaque tinted pixels, visitors can then produce a full colour image. Counter to this will be multiple tinted acetates that one may overlay one another on a seperate projector, to note how subtractive mixing works by contrast.