Mette Ramsgaard Thomsen & Simon Løvind 2006
Interactive sculptural installation
Exhibited at Charlottenborg Autumn Exhibition 2006 and in Brighton, UK, 2007

Project description
Vivisection is a spatial experiment within architecture and design that explores the idea of a robotic membrane. As an investigation it is the thinking of how a surface can embed a capacity for both sensing and actuation.

The installation is constructed from an fabric of steel and silk. The steel is conductive thereby allowing the passing of electronic signals.

Inspired by large scale textile constructions such as box kites and parachutes, Vivisection is constructed from three connected sections creating separate interior chambers. These chambers are inhabited by three lunges, activated by large-scale fans, inflating and deflating, giving the construction an inherent movement and rhythm. The lunges are made from the same material as the main construction, here coated with a thin film of silicone allowing the material to become airtight.

By using antenna based sensor chips the fabric itself becomes a sensor, which feels the presence of its audience. The sensors inform a network of distributed microcomputers that in turn control the fans. The microcomputers connect and communicate to each other through a copper thread integrated in the fabric, that passes signals along the length of the installation, like a main nerve path. As users pass underneath or touch the fabric they activate the sensor and affect the respiration of the lunges.

Vivisection is hung in an equillibrium. Strings draw the structure up to a set of pullies counter balanced with small weights. As the lunges inflate and deflate they draw a movement along the wall and in that way be read as a meter of the current state of the structure.

Vivisection explores the textile as a computational matrix. Collapsing the idea of the controlled and the controlling, Vivisection investigates the making of an intelligent surface creating a playful environment for interaction while probing at how a material itself could gain behaviour.

The project was a collaboration between architect Mette Ramsgård Thomsen from CITA and Simon Løvind.

Karen Gamborg Knudsen
Hasty Valipour Goudarzi
Sigrid Bylander
Nagy Awad
Karen Krog Nielsen
Maria Teudt-Jørgensen

Supported by:
Statens Kunstfond, arkitetkturudvalget.
Danmarks Nationalbanks Jubilæumsfond af 1968
Bernina symaskiner
F.B.J Sport

Process pictures:


Wires for equillibrium  


Sewing a 10 meter construction  

Testing fan inflated 'lungs'  

Pattern making  

Scale model  

Scale model in organza  

Early model sketch