The Everyday Ephemeral

An installation that records the intangible traces of energy between people and space, materializing it through rust on metal.

As an exploration of the subject Embodied Interaction within the interaction design master program at Malmö University, we created an installation that aims to question the nature of the archiving practice: The Everyday Ephemeral. Or, as we call it, The Rusting Machine.

Composed of 3 different cores, the rust installation was set up at the Orkanen library, at Malmö University. The first core captures the amount of people’s movements and light in the room through sensors (we metaphorically call the combination entropy), sending it over to the second core, which, according to the amount of entropy, drips an equivalent amount of liquid over a strip of metal, creating instant rust. As the liquid drips during 6 hours, the strip of metal is pulled through its stand, thus creating a timeline that represents the entropy of the room through the rust. The third and last core is a “monumental” archive. A combination of 4 strips of metal that went through the rusting process will hang at the Orkanen library as an archive of the 24 hours of recorded entropy. This piece of archive symbolizes a monument, which celebrates the first materialization of entropy of the Orkanen library. This monument and its content aims to critique the authoritarian archive practice of focusing on the recording of grand events by praising the mundane instead (the everyday people’s intangible traces left in the room).

The main core showing the bottle dripper and metal sheet.
Installation at the Orkanen library
Testing with rust and dripping times.
Close view of the installation inside the Orkanen library
Building with arduino.

  • Ana Barbosa
  • Emma Rugg
  • Laura Potenti
  • Erica Coria
  • Marjo Tikkanen