The Water Within (Hertzian Field #3)

  • The Water Within - Stelios Manousakis with Ping-Hsiang Chen @ MBF2016

The Water Within (Hertzian Field #3) is an interactive wet sauna: an intimate multi-sensory environment of complete immersion combining a cutting-edge sensing system based on WiFi waves, machine learning software, embedded 3D sound, hot steam and architectural design.

Steam rooms, saunas, hammams and public baths have been an integral part of the social network of many cultures – a place to refresh one’s body and mind, but also to meet, talk, listen, socialize. The Water Within (Hertzian Field #3) re-imagines the form, function and experience of a bathhouse within the context of an art exhibition or festival and from the perspective of today’s world of wirelessness, ubiquitous computing, and continuous connectivity. It provides visitors a space to slow down and recharge, but also engage with their bodies, with technology and with other visitors in unexpected ways. The piece uses a new sensing technique developed by Stelios Manousakis for the Hertzian Field series. Inspired by radio astronomy and obscure surveillance research, the system analyzes the interference patterns of ordinary WiFi waves to detect and respond to the flow of water molecules in the space – those of the steam, and those within the bodies of visitors.

Year: 2016
Type: Immersive interactive installation
Description: Interactive hot steam sauna with sound, light and WiFi waves
Dimensions: 3.6m x 3.6m x 2.1m
Duration: Variable
Capacity: Seats for 7 persons
Materials/Media: Hot steam generator, WiFi network, Raspberry Pi computers with WiFi cards, software, stands, loudspeakers, sound, light
Software: SuperCollider, Perl, Unix Shell networking tools
Concept, interaction, sound, software programming, steam: Stelios Manousakis
Sauna design: Ping-Hsiang Chen, Stelios Manousakis
Skin design & fabrication: Stephanie Pan
Speaker cabin design: Dionysis Manousakis, Stelios Manousakis
Fabrication: Ping-Hsiang Chen, Dave Kalle, Gijs Thermorshuizen, Djurre Kooistra, Johannes Fischer, Stelios Manousakis
Photo credit: Stelios Manousakis
Created for Modern Body Festival 2016: I/WE/THEY (The Hague).