Fluxgate was an interactive sound sculpture commissioned by the Norlys Festivalen in Trømso Norway in 2000. This installation gave people the justification to throw snowballs in the name of art.
This was a collaboration with the Norwegian composer Geir Jenssen (AKA Biosphere) who provide sound samples. Sixteen stainless steel plates rigged with velocity sensitive midi sensors acted as targets for the audience to trigger various elements of an electro acoustic composition by throwing snowballs. The audience interaction was fun both to watch and play and was accessible to all ages and demographies. It ran for 24 hours a day over 9 days.
In its final incarnation in 2003 the installation was opened by Mette Marit the Crown Princess of Norway to whom the artist presented a snowball on a velvet cushion. She returned the gesture with a saucy wink before throwing the ball at the sculpture.
The installation also featured a live data stream taken from a Fluxgate Magnetometer borrowed froth university of Trømso, this equipment measured mean differences in the earths magnetosphere, giving. constant analogue data stream. this was converted to MIDI which modulated the quality of VLF recordings of the Northern lights.
The installation was staged the during festival over three years the final exhibition of the work featured video samples triggered and projected onto the plates. with programming by Matthew Olden.
Three weeks in Trømso in midwinter, very little day light, a large PDs budget, plentiful bars. Deep snow and a lot of time to kill….good times were had indeed.