Gustav Hellberg

XYZ – Inside the Interface Between System and Reality


7 x 3 x 3 metres
Acrylic glass, aluminium, micro controllers and sensors
Science Life Lab, Biomedical Centre, Uppsala University

XYZ consists of three illuminated bar graphs, which are positioned according to the axes of a three dimensional diagram. Each bar graph is connected to a sensor that controls the light sequence. The red light indicates temperature changes in the room. The blue light indicates humidity and the green light the levels of carbon dioxide in the air. The white light indicates each diagram’s electric power consumption.

A micro processor handles sensor data, that are turned into changing light sequences. The algoritm, in the programmed code, is constructed to alter the scale according to the constant fluctuation of the sensor’s values. When a sensor deliver series of values with small differences the processor will increase the scale and vice versa. This also leads to an oscillating effect as the programme tries to adjust and balance its output. Thus it is constantly changing the bar’s visual light scale. Instead of being an exact measuring instrument or diagram XYZ more resembles and organism. It reacts on changes of the conditions of room’s air, which can be caused by people. It reacts on temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide. They are all important entities that determines human existence.

XYZ plays with our notion of collecting data and our constant quest of measuring our world. Can we be certain that our facts are entirely right when we take a close look at the interface between system and reality?

XYZ is commissioned by Statens Konstråd (Public Art Agency Sweden).