Vinzenz Reinhardt is an interaction designer and media artist.
His work investigates the intersection of art, technology and design.

2018 interactive kinetic installation

There is a universal trend towards more complexity. Over time, living organisms become more complex - like the transition from a single-cell organism, to a multi-cell organism, to a mammal eventually. The same trend nourishes technological advancements. Over time, simple stone tools turned into steel hammers and finally into sophisticated contemporary technologies like smartphones, cameras and cars. This trend apparently resists entropic forces. According to Kelly (2010), quite the opposite appears to be true, as technological advancements appear to be gaining momentum. Future technologies utilise today's technologies, making them more efficient and more profound by nature. Kelly calls this trend exotropy.

THEOMACHINA is a speculation about the future, where technologies' influence and power led to the era of the Post-Anthropocene - an era where machines and technological infrastructures are more influential than humans and human actions respectively. In this scenario, technology succeeded to create an Orwellian deity that controls "everything." "Everything" in this context is represented by slave units that respond to the deities' dictation by light patterns. The brighter the light, the closer the slave will move toward the deity. Interactants are invited to enter the installation, as it is accessible by design. As an interactant stands between the light source and the slave, he/she cast a shadow on them, ultimately releasing the slave from the diety's influence.

The installation consists of 28 modular slave units, each equipped with a microcontroller and two LDR's mounted on each side of an aluminium channel, which is being driven by a stepper motor. The units feature an initial homing mechanism, once the installation is powered on. This calibration sequence is achieved by an infra-red sensor placed under the aluminium channels, and it senses the transition from black tape to the shiny aluminium surface.

The central spherical light source performs random animations, driven by LED strips inside the shade. Consequentially, the light source controls the slave units around it, like a conductor directing an orchestra.

THEOMACHINA is by far the most labour intensive installation that I've built so far. The modular approach makes the installation easy to maintain and transport. However, it is really painstaking to build installations consisting of so many components. Each single hardware operation that one performs will require 28 additional operations. I prepared every cable, cable crimp and cable connector; every sensor; every motor and every solder joint. Due to the vast amount of dull work in this project, I really bonded with this project. I was really happy as I learned that THEOMACHINA was exhibited at Ars Electronica in 2018.