A whole wall in black and white. And a rhythmic clacking. Here, small steel balls make their way through a vertical course. What at first seems like a kinetic installation turns out at second glance to be a digitally controllable ball track: the latest exhibit by Archimedes Exhibitions for the current special exhibition “Smarte Neue Welt” at the phaeno in Wolfsburg.
The aesthetically staged marble run combines minimalist design and mechanical precision, but is not only designed for viewing, but also for playful interaction. Visitors to the exhibition can digitally change the switches within the track and therefore steer the balls through artistic 2D and 3D elements: from a spiral and looping to a magnetic track and a Newtonian pendulum. But beware: a QR code takes you to a web app for smartphone or tablet, also implemented by Archimedes, with which you can “hack” into the system and change the switches at the same time as the player. So the question is: Do you work against each other or do you collaborate?
Like the switches of the marble track, many devices today are networked via the Internet and can be controlled digitally: heating, refrigerator or lawn mower. The so-called “Internet of Things” provides convenience, but also harbours security risks. The staging of this complex of topics is intended to playfully sensitize people to how sensitive the Internet of Things can be.
More about phaeno: www.phaeno.de