The Digital Water Games will be opened in two places. On Thursday, 21 July – Part 1 »RainDance« at the Karlsruhe Marketplace at 6 p.m., and then the »3D WATER MATRIX« in the ZKM_Foyer at 7 p.m.
The »3D WATER MATRIX« stands for the beginning of a new generation of digital water technology. As you enter the black cube of the installation, a theatrical atmosphere unfolds before the spectator’s eyes: Accompanied by mechanical sounds, as if drawn in the air by a ghostly hand, figures and patterns appear in the middle of the darkened room and linger for a moment before evolving to be replaced by surprising new shapes.
Working in the background is a machine whose programming generates these water sculptures in real time. The heart of the machine consists of 900 electrovalves, each computer-controlled and individually addressable, arranged into a two-dimensional grid of 30 x 30 valves (2.4 x 2.4 m), positioned high above the heads of the visitors. In a closed circuit, water is pumped through this system and caught again in a table-high basin before the audience’s eyes. The interplay of continuously falling water and precise electronic control of the opening and closing of the valves produces a vertical 3D video of sorts. This consists of a succession of square pictures, each of a low 30 x 30 pixel resolution, reminiscent perhaps of a course-grained photogram. Each pixel is defined by the presence or absence of a water droplet – a digital signal of 1 converted into water or 0 converted into air. Reminiscent of an inkjet printer, the mechanics of the system exploit the force of gravity to produce a three-dimensional curtain – or indeed matrix – of water.
The matrix itself is not the work of art; rather it is the medium or interface for making liquid creations. Yet, the true artwork is also the sequences and software programs created for this gigantic installation. Works shown alternately at the ZKM are: ST\LL (11 min.) by Japanese artist Shiro Takatani and The Sorcerer's Apprentice (17 min.) by Swedish artist Christian Partos.