Behaviour curve by Jelka Kretzschmar

Behaviour curve by Jelka Kretzschmar

From Jelka:

The basic idea was to make a literal interpretation of a behaviour landscape. The Curve Gallery at Barbican has an ideal potential for large scale and perspective works. The shape of the curve itself leads the idea of a programmable world into a more perspective view, also concerning the impact individual movements can have on the environment. A possible convergence of past, presence and future occurs on the “screen”.

Behaviour landscape by Jelka Kretzschmar

Focussing on the HCI, I prototyped a small module. Many individual elements like these would be activated globally but also individually depending on the incoming signal. The evolved pattern, made up of many elements, would fill the walls of the gallery and reacting together on physical movement that is tracked by sensors and/or computer vision.


I focussed a lot of my time on generating a mechanism that would “lift up” or “push forward” the little element I chose as my basis. Once I found the power supply I tried to control the distance and intensity of movement that every element would perform in the installation, to be visible and viable.

Behaviour landscape by Jelka Kretzschmar

I chose a skin of to cover the whole mechanical installation, and chose the elements themselves to be the light source by installing LEDs in their heads. I experimented a lot with the distances, speed and shadows given by different movements and organising them through programming servo motors.

Keeping the Barbican Curve without further highlights in darkish grey, the light-wall as the only light source would, depending on the distance, appear a bit like a grid of stars. The movement of the element behind the textile would appear soft and would just follow the movements or, by concentrating on one point, decay the rhythm outwardly.


Having the final presentation in the Curve Gallery itself was really helpful for reflecting the own idea and putting problems and possibilities back in scale. The idea of generating a concept so huge was exciting and challenging since there are so many aspects to consider.

My final work consists of two physical models and some 3D sketches. One model is a box with textile cover which contains nine arms reacting to sensors which push forward when movement is detected. The second model represents the lighting system for the surface. Looking at my modelling, I would need more than 200.000 mechanical arms and LEDs to fill the entire wall

Matt Clark from UVA said this ‘kinetic landscape’ was a strong gesture that gave life to the architecture, making it breathe.

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