Pentatono is a kinetic light and sound sculpture, where harmony and periodicity are the fundamental elements. Motion, sound and light, all are obeying the laws of the harmonic oscillation. Five acrylic balls are hanging from optical fibers and form five pendulums that are moving in the space using the thrust of small propellers. When a pendulum passes from the equilibrium position (the middle of the motion path) it emits a light pulse and sound tone. Each pendulum is “tuned” in a different note of a natural pentatonic scale. The lengths and hence the periods of the pendulums are accurately adjusted to form visual traveling waves, standing waves and quasi chaos.


What have you made?

A kinetic light and sound sculpture called “Pentatono”. It is a system of five luminous and sound emitting pendulums that are moving with the help of small motors/propellers. This creates a hypnotic light and sound installation that has been presented in various art festivals across Europe as part of my artistic practice.

What gave you the initial inspiration?

Harmonic motion, a periodic movement between two points, is a fascinating physical phenomenon. Simple harmonic oscillators, like the pendulums in Pentatono, are used to model and explain many phenomena in both classical physics and quantum mechanics. I was always wanted to combine the beauty of the harmonic motion with the light and sound that are the two fundamental elements of my work as an artist. A major inspiration to this work was also the “Simple Harmonic Motion” series of projects by Memo Akten.

What is the original idea behind this project?

The main element that makes this installation unique is that the pendulums are moving with the thrust of small propellers, using the fundamental natural frequency (resonant frequency) of each pendulum.

How does it work?

Everything is controlled using an Arduino Uno. The Arduino in activate the motors on each of the five pendulums for a small amount of time (1-2 secs) in different frequencies for each motor. It also fades in and out the leds that illuminate the optical fibres. Using a bluetooth module (HC-6) the Arduino communicates with an android phone that generate the sound tones for each pendulum. Using a custom made android app you can control various properties of the Arduino sketch, like the power of the motors, the led luminosity, the frequency e.c.t

How long did it take to make it real?

It took about 3 months to design and test different approached of moving pendulums. Starting from a totally different approach, I tested various setups in order to find the optimum design. After finalizing my idea, I worked for about two months to build it.

How did you build it?

The main parts of the installation are optical fibres, 3W leds, dc motors, acrylic spheres, an Arduino Uno and an android phone with a custom made app. The leds are connected to the top end of the optical fibres and two wires are going down to the motors inside the acrylic balls. All the wires are connected to a central box where the Arduino Uno with the help of an array of MOSFETs is controlling the motors and the leds. A pair of active speakers is connected to the android phone for amplifying the sound. The installation can be hang from the ceiling of an exhibition space in a dark room.