Public Metal / Lines and Coils

Public Metal / Lines and Coils

2014 - current

research project

dimensions: variable

diverse materials

Public Metal is an ongoing collaborative project of Christine Swintak and Peter Flemming where figurative metal objects in the public sphere, such as iron statues, are wrapped with wire and turned into large electromagnets. Preliminary research for this project took place in spring of 2014 in Prague (field tests and mock-ups) and Ljubljana (exhibition of working prototype entitled Lines and Coils).

Flemming and Swintak’s past projects have both involved visually exploiting physical laws to uncover material or behavioural essences of objects, spaces and systems. Where Flemming experiments in the studio, Swintak improvises on site. For this project the artists have combined these working methods, using mechanical elements and behavioural algorithms from Flemming’s work, with the intuitive site-specific, architectural experimentation of Swintak’s artistic approach.

exhibition text for Lines and Coils (working prototype)

Lines and Coils is an improvised installation that treats building as a form of drawing, emerging as an erratic extension of both the space and the electricity from a singular wall outlet. Produced during a short residency, the project is a result of a series of experiments with hand-wound electromagnets, simple alternating current circuits, and ad hoc architecture.

The resulting installation is a large network of metal rods interconnected by strong rare earth magnets. Found metal elements in the gallery such as water pipes, light fixtures, nails hidden under layers of paint, and window frames, are used as anchor points for the structure, and in one case as an armature for one of several copper wire coils. These coils draw electricity from a single wall outlet, harnessing the alternating current in order to oscillate the assembly. Lines and Coils playfully imagines the idea of electromagnetic activity as physical lines in space, embodied in a temporary structure that can be entered and experienced.


spiderlogic (i)

in-situ improvised kinetic / sound installation

Floating ladders, chairs, tables; aperiodic perturbations; mechanically modulated shadow; arhythmic/rhythmic tension.

spiderlogic (ii)

in-situ improvised kinetic and sound installation

Spiderlogic. Ad-hoc architecture, intuitive physics, informal engineering.

IO (prototype)

experiment / prototype / rehearsal

First publicly presented working prototype of IO in Rhizope exhibition, Tallinn, Estonia, May 2014.

Irrational Orchestration
demonstration: electromagnetic oscillator

experiment / prototype / rehearsal

Prototype for axon/vibrational strutcural element.

Irrational Orchestration
studio rehearsals, research images, materials tests

experiment / prototype / rehearsal

Documentation of studio rehearsals, research images, materials tests for Irrational Orchestration.

Irrational Orchestration
demonstrations: experiments with vibrating bars + resonators

experiment / prototype / rehearsal

Testing material and acoustic qualities of various objects.


collaborative open-source hardware research project

The neuromime is an electronic model of an organic nerve cell that can be interconnected in chains and loops.

NKD research
Photon Theatre

residency research, prototypes, maquettes

Light as substance.

Barracks Bricollage
Headlands research: sound / building studies for new work

residency research, prototypes, maquettes

Documentation of studies and experiments in sound/acoustics and architecture/building using materials found mostly on site as an artist in residence at the Headlands Center, California, summer 2014.

Column Coil
Headlands research: Oroboros of alternating current

residency research, prototypes, maquettes, experiments in electromagneticks and architecture

Objects dance erratically in an intense, fluctuating electromagnetic field of a coiled extension cord, the head and tail of which are plugged into a custom three-headed oroboros cable. Research from a summer residency at the Headlands Centre in California.