The idea for the 3D Water Matrix came in 2001 when Shiro Takatani, one of the founders and artistic director of the Japanese collective Dumb Type, visited Lille to work on the preparation of several projects for the European Capital of Culture that was to take place three years later.
One of these projects was a writer fountain robot that delivered its messages by dropping a stream of liquid letters.
Unfortunately, the necessary technology did not yet exist.
The history of the arts and sciences is replete with examples of concepts that come several years, not to say centuries, before the invention of the means to demonstrate them or give them concrete form. To name just one: it wasn’t until the Large Hadron Collider was built that proof was found in 2013 of the existence of the Higgs boson that scientists had been seeking since 1964.
Of much more modest proportions than a collider, the 3D Water Matrix is composed of 900 electrovalves, each computer-controlled, which form a square grid of 30 streams of water on each side. The result is a "liquid" video display where drops replace pixels, with a very low resolution (30 by 30 pixels/drops) but one to which gravity imparts a "real" third dimension.
Thanks to this robotic machine, Christian Partos becomes a water sculptor and Shiro Takatani, a filmmaker, who creates animations using water drops defying gravity.
A new piece designed by Ulf Langheinrich (DE/AT) will complete the repertoire in April 2017.
The artworks are performed in a row as a loop.