Musical droplets

Aqueous is a meditative space that encourages perception of small things.

In a dark room, visitor can see lights near the floor and on the ceiling and hear soft water sounds from every part of the space. As the sound gains and loses musicality, they can also catch glimpses of tonal, rhythmic and spatial patterns.


Water droplets fall through the space into 25 water-filled tubes that are approximately tuned in an equal-temperament scale spanning two octaves. Each tube is lit from the bottom by an LED, creating a glow in the ceiling that shimmers and flickers when the water surface is distorted. The release of droplets is hidden above the ceiling, allowing the ceiling to act as a canvas.

The actuation of the droplets is controlled by a computer program, whose algorithm constructs note sequences that resemble noise at times and music at other times. Because of the physics of the installation, the volume and timbre of each drop vary since the droplets do not always fall in the same exact location. Perturbations during droplet formation, atmospheric disturbances and water surface conditions inside the tube all affect the nature of the resultant sound. The chance occurrence in aqueous is a combination of computed randomness and nature.

By Zehao Chang (see also Collective Subconscious.)