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Tectonic Probes

Over 90% of the world’s earthquakes occur on the Pacific Ring of Fire. This work highlights the restless and interconnected rhythms of seismic activity through the materialization of real-time data from five regions along the Pacific Ring. Tremors detected from these regions – New Zealand, Japan, Alaska, the West coast of North America, and the West coast of South America – are indicated on micro OLED displays nested within suspended cubes made of wood and steel. According to the magnitude of newly occurring earthquakes, the data is visualized through an animated “target” that changes scale and intensity of colour. At the same time, each new seismic occurrence triggers an audible vibration alert that activates the overall object.

This work celebrates the collective experience of earthquakes in bridging diverse cultures across multiple continents, as well as bringing awareness to the quality of time associated to tectonics in the ever-transformative nature of our planet.

Collaboration between Tonya Sweet (NZ), Morgan Barnard (USA), and Ben Jack (NZ)


2017 - Powder coated steel, wood, digital components - 145 X 380 X 120mm

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