Ω = 1, 2003 - 2013

Basel 2016
Gavin Brown's enterprise
Installation
2B pencil, gearbox, electric motor
50.0 x 50.0 x 50.0 (cm)
19.7 x 19.7 x 19.7 (inch)
The state of the universe represented through a perfectly balanced pencil is the basis of Pippin’s Ω = 1 project. The field of astrophysics assumes that the universe exists in an equilibrium somewhere between collapsing through implosion and flying apart through explosion and eventual evaporation. This balanced state has been described as the ‘Omega Point,’ a value that approaches Ω = 1. Over the course of 10 years, Pippin has engineered a perfectly balanced standard 2B pencil. The pencil stands upright on its own graphite tip, surveyed by two optical sensors. Each sensor registers the most minuscule change to the movement of the pencil, relaying the data directly to motors adjusting its position. Operating at a speed of 20 milliseconds, this feedback loop corrects every shift in the pencil’s position with the help of an almost imperceptible movement on the surface beneath it. The precarious nature of the pencil precipitates an ominous feeling of collapse while creating likewise a sensation of suspended time. Order can quickly become disorder (leading to exponential collapse), and equilibrium can be suddenly dismantled if balance is not carefully and continually maintained.