Sachiko Kodoma is a Japanese artist. He conceived this dynamic sculpture using ferrofluids and a modified
“Morpho Towers-Two Standing Spirals” Image copyright (c)Sachiko Kodama, music by Tetsuhide Hidaka.
A ferrofluid is a liquid which is magnetized in the presence of a magnetic field. Now you've probably played with a magnet and iron filings when you were a kid. If you put some on a sheet of paper, you can make it move by displacing the magnet underneath. The tiny iron filings change their orientation according to the magnetic field lines. It looks just like this:
Ferrofluids are made of nanoscale ferromagnetic particles (microscopic filings) suspended in a carrier viscous fluid. In his installation, Kodoma used two spirals and a ferrofluid on a large plate. He also used a special sculpted electromagnet which creates a complex magnetic field. The movements induced in the fluid are controlled dynamically by adjusting the power of the electromagnet. When the magnetic field is activated, spikes of ferrofluid emerge.
Kodama set the frequency of the magnetic field modulations to match the beat and the variations of the music you can hear in the video. When the music starts, the sculpture moves synthetically to it.
If you want to set up your own ferrofluid sculpture, you will need a viscous liquid such as oil (or anything which does not contain water, if not the iron particles will rust), iron filings (or any other liquid which can potentially be magnetized; printer ink from a cartridge for instance) and a magnet. Instructions are given in the following video:
The more powerful it is, the more you will be able to create interesting patterns and figures by moving it. And if you are really into it, you can buy an electromagnet.
Of course, if you have enough money, you can also buy one from Kodama. If you liked this article, you might like: