Distracted is a luminous, interactive, computational media installation of sound, light and translucent sculptural materials. The work is inspired by scientific ice core samples taken in Antarctica. The sculpture is capable of displaying data taken from these ice core samples, and responding to the proximity of an audience. Rather than simply using the interface as a didactic display device, we have chosen a more poetic approach of generating visual effects from the data that are evocative of the ice, fluids and the notion of change.The data has also been used in the composition of an evolving soundscape. As well as data from ice core samples, such as the Vostok ice core, we have incorporated data from the Keeling Curve that shows the annual rise and fall of atmospheric carbon dioxide, following the pattern of the Northern Hemisphere winter. These effects combine with changes caused directly by audience members as they come within close proximity to the work.

Audiences can walk around and interact with this work creating unique experiences of light and sound resulting from sensors that detect human presence. Deeper readings of the work are possible as the illumination will vary in colour, intensity and frequency of illumination to generate visualisations of ice-core sample data, coral reef growth patterns, and sea and air temperature records at specified intervals. This data has been selected because it forms a record of the planet’s history, represents long periods of time, and provides a context for understanding human presence and impact on the planet.

The work is 1850 mm high x 660 x 660 mm. It is consists of 3 acrylic tubes of varying heights, asymmetrically arranged on a ply wood plinth. Within each tube (or core) are individually controllable LED’s and resin bubbles encasing found organic matter, suspended on fibre optic cabling. In all there are 700 LED’s, and over 1500 resin bubbles. The work also contains 8 proximity sensors that detect presence. The work’s visual effects are operated by a computer running software built in Processing, and custom made electronic circuitry.

Images of the work





  • Sade, Gavin & Bracks, Priscilla (2009) Distracted : poetic interpretations of climate change. In Proceedings of Digital Art and Culture 2009 : After Embodiment, University of California, University of California, Irvine. Official URL:http://escholarship.org/uc/item/1055s39t
  • Sade, Gavin J., Bracks, Priscilla, Brown, Paul, Carroli, Linda, & Takeifanga, Naomi (2011) Lumia : Art | light | motion. The Art of Kuuki. State Library of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld.


Distracted is a Kuuki Production, and was realised by:

Artists: Priscilla Bracks and Gavin Sade
Sound: Greg Jenkins
Programming: Glen Wetherall
Artist Assistant: Nicole Gillard
Wood work: Richard Vaughan
Electronics: Matt Petoe

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body. The project is also supported by the Creative Industries Faculty of the Queensland University of Technology.
Australia Council for the Arts 


Made with Processing,  Arduino and Philips ColorKinetics.