Meteor Impacts On The Moon Drive This Elegant Kinetic Sculpture

Created in a collaboration between FIELD and Accept & Proceed, "Specta" is an installation that gives lunar impact data a physical, visual form.

Sep 15 2014, 3:50pm

Spectra. All images courtesy of FIELD

A new, collaborative work by artists FIELD and design studio Accept & Proceed is on display at annual contemporary art and design showcase, the London Design Festival. Known as Spectra, this kinetic sculpture hangs from the ceiling and features actions informed by a NASA dataset of meteor impacts on the moon. Explains FIELD, "We all loved this quite poetic notion that a very small event, very far away, could have a huge impact, so we developed this into the narrative backbone of the piece." 

Keen to incorporate their aesthetic and the themes they explore in the digital arena into a physical installationFIELD saw Spectra as a great opportunity to bring data visualization into the realm of sculpture. "Our works are very narrative and sensual; and the digital, audiovisual realm provides an incredible wide range of expression for this. From there it’s a logical consequence to include touch, materials, and space—without giving up the expressiveness that we love from working in digital media." 


A reflection of the lack of atmosphere on the moon, the sculpture's floating movement gives the impact data a physical, visual form. "In a virtual environment you can defy the laws of physics, simulate hyperreal conditions, achieve the most vibrant colours, materials, reflections," explains FIELD. "We want to fuse these characteristics from our digital work into the physical piece."

The sculpture consists of circuit boards, motor modules, stainless steel surfaces and a steel frame, all of which was custom designed and built for the festival. The team who helped with this included Laurence Symonds as lead engineer, Owen Hindley and Eduard Prats Molner (Jocabola) on software development, and sound by Jochen Mader (Audionerve). These elements were then programmed to echo meteor impacts from May 2006 to May 2014, giving abstract sculptural expression to cosmic events that took place thousands of miles away.


The elegant, minimal design contrasts with the mass of data that drives the installation and provides its narrative. "Each Spectra piece looks at visualising data from the physical universe—moon meteorite impacts, solar eruptions and storms—and also tries to find a poetic link between the micro and the macro; linking back to us humans, our relationships," FIELD explains.

Below, get up close and personal with images of Spectra:

Motion test still

Spectra is on display now through November 11th, 2014, at 43m3, Kingsland Road, London.


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