Morpho Towers – Two Standing Spirals

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Kodama was born in 1970 in Kagoshima Prefecture. Kagoshima is the southwestern tip of the Kyushu island of Japan. It is a subtropical area whose biological diversity greatly inspired her curiosity toward art and science. She graduated in Physics from the Department of Science at Hokkaido University in 1993 then shifting her focus, and entered the University of Tsukuba’s Graduate School of Art and Design. After holding a PhD in art from the University of Tsukuba she has been teaching at the University of Electro-communications in Tokyo as an associate professor. Read more

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Morpho Towers -Two Standing Spirals is an installation that consists of two ferrofluid sculptures that moving synthetically. The two spiral towers stand on a large plate that holds ferrofluid. Spikes of ferrofluid born from the bottom plate and move up, trembling and rotating around the edge of the iron spiral.  This “ferrofluid sculpture” technique enables the artist to create dynamic sculptures with fluid materials. To do so, the artist uses one electromagnet, and an extended and sculpted iron core. The surface of the tower responds dynamically to its magnetic environment. When there is no magnetic field, the tower appears to be a simple spiral shape but when the magnetic field around the tower is strengthened, spikes of ferrofluid start to develop; at the same time, the tower’s surface dynamically morphs into a variety of textures ranging from soft fluid to minute moss, to spiky shark’s teeth, or to a solid iron surface. The ferrofluid, with its smooth, black surface, reaches the top of the tower, spreading like a fractal, defying gravity. Fluid moves as if it breathes, and the condition of the fluid’s surface emerges as autonomous and complex. The artist takes her inspiration from life and nature. The organic forms and the geometry and symmetry observed in plants and animals are important inspirational factors when considering kinetic or shape-changing art forms. The manner of movement of animals and other natural materials is also important. Rhythms of breathing in living things are an excellent metaphor for a texture that dynamically changes according to time. The continuously changing weather conditions of the earth are also important motifs. The motifs for the work Morpho Towers: Two standing spirals were ocean, tornadoes, and lightning. Here, a black tornado elegantly dances. In Japan, the concept of comparison is very well known. Mimicking natural phenomena (“mitate” in Japanese) is a method that works well when trying to understand how natural shapes occur. It permits the comparison of ferrofluid forms to creatures such as sea urchins and jellyfishes or to a tornado.

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Additional Information

Weight 120 kg
Dimensions 110 x 110 x 70 cm
Collection curated by:

Doo Eun Choi


Sachiko Kodama






Kinetic sculpture with ferrofluid


Original artwork

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