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untitled (2001)
sand trace 166, detail 5x5in.

traces on sand / sand of changes

i started using sand as a digital medium in the 90s. here are several documents from the period. a short clip well tempered shows how a ball rolling in the sand can trace lines narrower than its diameter. three short time-lapse movies show different traces as they develop over time: sand dial, carpe-diem, and wheel. another time-lapse movie illustrates the ephemerality of the sand traces.

short introduction to 'sand of changes' (pdf slides).

as some ask, i must be clear: this is real sand, and this is not on the beach but a device: a computer driven ball rolls and marks the sand. the images are photographic and document ephemeral real traces on real sand.

this work has developed as a concept, a framework more than as any single piece. over time, there has been several instantiations of the concept in hardware (there will be more), while the software and trace designs have evolved continuously. the work has also been presented under several names: sisyphe, sisyphus, sisyphos, ulysse, ulysses, telemaque, telemachus, telemachos, anicca, aniccata, sand traces, sand as medium, sand of changes (preferred in 2008 as i write this), and more.

sand as visual music, fall 2004: 13' video/audio clip. warning: large 41mb quicktime file.

granular zen talk at the kitp, spring 2005: 62 presentation slides. sand in nature, science, tradition, art, my own work. warning: large 18mb pdf file. 30 presentation slides present my work only, from the digital zen talk (pdf slides).

current development emphasis: easy user interface, new traces, improved aural tracks, interactive stones (in progress).

a new modular, scalable design is scheduled for spring 2009 trial and summer exhibit, with one activation module and a matrix of presentation modules. this design will draw not only on sand but on paper, and also will etch paper pulp, copper plates, clay-paper, etc...this kinetic drawing device might be anicca, a reference to the ephemerality of the sand trace.

you need art to express your feelings, dreams, visions, but does art need you?.
(ad reinhardt)

creative commons license jean-pierre hébert contact. (14 Sep 2012)