Laboratory for New Media 8th Exhibition “Invisible Garden”

The Permanent Exhibition, “Laboratory for New Media,” is an exhibition space that introduces the possibilities of expression using cutting-edge technology as it upgrades the exhibits approximately 3 times a year. In the 8th exhibition, we will exhibit works by Ms. Sachiko Kodama who has the unique career path of having switched to the field of Media Art after learning physics.
The main focus is “light” and “ferrofluid” (fluid that reacts to magnetic fields) invented at NASA. A spectacular atmosphere blossoming like a garden will be presented with works created by controlling forces such as magnetic waves and infrared rays that cannot be seen with your eyes alone.

Morpho Tower / Two Standing Spirals(2010)

Two spiral towers, one large and one small, stand side by side in a large pond. When sound flows out into the surrounding area, the black fluid begins to move in time to that sound. At times, the towers seem to be covered in wriggling black spikes. At other times, ripples are produced on the surface of the pond. The light from the sky above (produced by an LED spotlight) is added to the harmony of the sound and fluid, creating a unified world that encompasses the work.
Setting metadata in advance for the movement of the fluid in time to the melody enables the music and fluid motion to be synchronized so they are perfectly in time with one another.

Planet Series(2010-2011)

Artworks with magnetic fluids emphasize the texture and movement of the fluid that reflects light in unique ways. But at times the fluid can also bounce and splatter. Enclosing the liquid in glass, as in an art object, enables the work to depict the world of flow within a closed planet.
Construction of these works began in 2010. They were inspired by the works of the American glass artist Josh Simpson, and were first conceived in discussions in 2009 with Professor Evan Douglis.

Morpho Tower(2006–present)

When a magnetic field acts on the spiral tower, the magnetic fluid in the surrounding area turns into tiny spikes that begin to climb up the spiral path of the tower. It almost seems as if the tower is alive when the spiral path is completely enveloped by delicately wriggling spikes. When the magnetic force becomes weak, the spikes begin to move back. Gradually they become unable to maintain their form and flow down the tower.
“Morpho” is a Greek word meaning “form,” and it was used for the name to indicate a tower whose form and texture are ever-changing. The manner in which the fluid climbs the towers as if it were alive is like a scene out of a fantasy.

Dynamic Light Wall(2009-2010)

Changes in colorful lights are projected on a wall with a fish scale pattern. This is actually the light from LEDs that is reflected from the surface of the wall. The light source cannot be seen, but the glistening light continues to change in beautiful ways. The aim was to create a work that would enable viewers to sense the soft, enveloping light from an indirect light source.
This is an installation that Sachiko Kodama began working on during her stay in the United States.

“Bouncing Star”Ball Project(2009-2010)

The internal sensors of the “Bouncing Star” detect the status of the ball. Combining the ball with an infrared camera creates a system that is able to determine the position of the ball. This information can be synchronized with the graphics on the playing field, making it possible to play digital ball games in which the playing field changes according to the movement of the ball.
This project has been pursued in cooperation with successive generations of students of the Sachiko Kodama Media Arts Studios & Lab at the University of Electro-Communications. The aim was to develop a “Bouncing Star” — a ball into which a wireless module, infrared and full color LEDs, acceleration sensors and so on had been embedded — as well as a dynamic playing field for digital sports using this ball.

Project Archive

Art projects that use magnetic fluids have included not only the actual works but also photographs and video works. These photographs and videos are recorded on a variety of media. This exhibition includes video works created during the course of the project, prototypes, videos recording the development of the “Bouncing Star” Ball Project and other reference materials.


Special Thanks to: The University of Electro-Communications / Hiroshi Harashima (Research Supervidsor of CREST / Professor Emeritus at the University of Tokyo) / Hiroo Iwata (Project Leader of Device Art Project / Professor at the University of Tsukuba) / Masahiko Inami (Professor in the Graduate School of Media Design [KMD] at the Keio University)
Production Cooperation: The University of Electro-Communications / Members, Staffs, Graduates of Kodama Lab. / Hideki Koike (Professor at the University of Electro-Communications) / Toshiki Sato / Haruko Mamiya / Division of Technical Staffs of the University of Electro-Communications / Yasushi Miyajima (Sony CSL) / Yozo Takada / Tetsuhide Hidaka / Megumi Sato / Norihisa Matsuo / Ippei Ogura / Techno-Shugei Club / Takeno Ceramic Laboratory / Chofu Glass Studio / Evan Douglis Studio / David Mans
Cooperation: Ferrotec Corporation.

Term December 1 (Wed.), 2010 – March 21 (Mon./Holiday), 2011
Exhibitor Sachiko KODAMA
Artist, Associate Professor at the University of Electro-Communications
After graduating Physics course at Hokkaido University, Sachiko matriculated in the Fine Arts Department at the University of Tsukuba, studying Plastic Art and Mixed Media. In 2000, Sachiko began work on a ferrofluid art project that she named “Protrude, Flow”.
In 2008, she made a spectacular and poetic installation 'Protrude, Flow 2008' for the Reina Sofia National Museum in Madrid. After that, she stayed and exhibited her works in New York with a grant from the Agency for Cultural Affairs. Sachiko has been working on her 'dynamic sculpture' works, interactive installations, video works exploring the potential of combining new digital media and material by designing transformable, sensitive surface.
Sachiko KODAMA Web Page