"Mucilaginous Omniverse"
Evelina Domnitch, Dmitry Gelfand

Evelina Domnitch, Dmitry Gelfand (BY / RU / NL)

Live performance, 2010

Above the surface of upwardly sonicated silicone oil, falling droplets of the same liquid are suspended by a thin membrane of air, acoustically regenerated underneath each droplet. Without coalescing for extended periods, these palpitating spheroids bounce on the air-oil interface. The repeated impact of a bouncing droplet incites a standing capillary wave that interlocks with the waves of neighboring droplets. This close-range attractive force can result in the orbital motion of droplet pairs and clusters. During more stable modes of excitation, self-organizing geometric rafts emerge in accordance with the closest packing of spheres: the distance between droplets decreases with increasing frequency, leading to dense lattice formation.

Through meticulous force field tailoring, the nebulous frontier between macroscopic and quantum phenomena can be pierced by the naked eye. Ten million times larger than an atom, a non-coalescing oil droplet is the largest object to manifest the self-interferential signature of wave-particle duality. When the wave packet emitted by the droplet interferes with its own reflections, the droplet begins to drift or “walk” along the wave. “We observe single-particle diffraction and interference with a classical system. This phenomenon was thought to be reserved to the quantum scale.” [Physical Review Letters, Y. Couder, E. Fort]


Dmitry Gelfand (b.1974, St. Petersburg, Russia) and Evelina Domnitch (b. 1972, Minsk, Belarus) create sensory immersion environments that merge physics, chemistry and computer science with uncanny philosophical practices. Current findings, particularly regarding wave phenomena, are employed by the artists to investigate questions of perception and perpetuality.

The duo has collaborated with numerous scientific research facilities, including the Drittes Physikalisches Institut (Goettingen University, Germany), the Institute of Advanced Sciences and Technologies (Japan), Ricso Lab (Russia) and the Meurice Institute (Belgium). They are the recipients of the Japan Media Arts Excellence Prize (2007), and two Ars Electronica Honorary Mentions (2007, 2009).