LOUISE BERTELSEN & PO SHU WANG (LIVING LENSES), River Harp. City of Drammen (Norway)
Drammen is the River City of Norway. In the river lives the legendary Norwegian water spirit Nøkken, who lures people to drowning with his beautiful music.
But we believe that once upon a time, when we used to sing to the rivers and streams, he was not the fearsome character that he is now. So we have created this artwork that is basically an interactive tool through which the community can reestablish harmony with Nøkken.
By employing the alchemy of arts and science, we built this artwork of two component parts, a River Harp and an Eavesdrop Device.
1. THE RIVER HARP - At the site of Dramenselva River is the cable stayed pedestrian bridge, named Ypsilon. We embedded three 3-axis accelerometer sensors under the deck to monitor its dynamic behavior. Community crossing the bridge is constantly modifying its movement. Signal of this dynamic flux is streamed to two giant resonators, one on each banks of the River. There, the signal is processed into an ever-mutating choir singing to Nøkken.
2. EAVESDROP ON NØKKEN - Inspired by Michael Faraday's 1831 "failed" Liquid Dynamo experiment on the Waterloo Bridge, where he tried to read the electric current generated by the flow of the Thames across the Earth's magnetic field. He stretched a wire along the bridge, and dipped its ends into the river to complete the circuit. Even though his reasoning was correct, the electro-chemical noise of the jostling water molecules overwhelmed his galvanometer. But this noise is exactly what we want, the noise of Nøkken's habitat. So we modified Faraday's setup for our eavesdropping purpose. A gap is left on our wire, allowing the public to complete the circuit by bridging the gap with their conductive selves.
Project: River Harp
Site: Papirbreden, Drammen, Norway
Medium: Stainless Steel, electronics
Dimension: Varied. (Sphere size 395cm an 279cm)
Commissioned by: City of Drammen, Norway
Artist Team: LIVING LENSES, Louise Bertelsen and Po shu Wang