smartgeometry 2012: manta acoustically responsive sculpture
smartgeometry 2012: manta acoustically responsive sculpture smartgeometry 2012: manta acoustically responsive sculpture
apr 17, 2012

smartgeometry 2012: manta acoustically responsive sculpture

smartgeometry 2012: manta   acoustically responsive sculpture ‘manta’ by guillermo bernal, zackery belanger, eric ameres, and seth edwards as part of smartgeometry, 2012 all images © M. leo villardi





designers guillermo bernal, zackery belanger, eric ameres, and seth edwards have sent designboom their project ‘manta’, an acoustically reactive suspended sculpture developed as part of smartgeometry 2012 a four-day workshop and symposium in troy, new york, USA. the interdisciplinary project is a dynamic manifestation displaying the incorporation of architecture, fabrication, interactive technology and research in acoustics into an actualized form. ‘manta’ is formed from a system of CNC machined panels and connectors comprised of high-density polyethylene while it’s shape results from bending stiffness and triangulation. the hanging piece makes use of its rigging, infrastructure and home in an acoustically inert environment in order to become a truly kinetic sculptural work.

the sculpture slowly moves due to the influence of the individual standing just underneath its frame



bernal tells designboom that the aim, ‘was to create a surface that changes its form – and therefore acoustic character – in response to multi-modal input including sound, stereoscopic vision, multi-touch, and brainwaves‘. the sculpture was then built in experimental media and performing arts center’s studio 1 at rensselaer due to the room being an acoustically inert space. this allowed for the designers to perceive the movement of the reactive surface in reality.  belanger notes, ‘manta is a surface that changes form – and therefore acoustic character – in response to multimodal input through open sound control,  including stereoscopic vision, multi-touch, sound, and brainwaves. while adaptable acoustic treatments are common, manta explores variability and  responsiveness in the surface itself, advancing acoustic systems beyond individual elements and corrective treatment.‘

the group of smartgeometry 2012 troy experiences ‘manta’



the piece was developed with the support of grimshaw architects, experimental media and performing arts center and rensselaer polytechnic institute. smartgeometry cluster participants olia fomina, frederico fialho, daniel hambleton, christoffer marsvik, ana garcia puyol, varvara toulkeridou,  ben schneiderman, sarah goldfarb, and james wisniewski also assisted in the construction of the installation.

participants stand under the kinetic sculpture

side perspective of the piece

detailed view of ‘manta’s’ moving arms

the participants install the kinetic sculpture

the participants of smart geometry 2012 troy put ‘manta’ together at the ground level

a conceptual rendering of ‘manta’ accurately displays the distribution of the sculpture’s weight lowered from the ceiling’s surface

a detailed perspective picturing the piece’s supportive backbone structure

from the side, this conceptual sketch is able to portray the movement of ‘manta’s’ arms

the designers conceptualize a view of the kinetic work from the ground, looking up to its underside

‘the raising and tuning of manta’ by zackery belanger ‘manta’ reactive acoustic surface is raised in EMPAC studio 1 at rensselaer as part of smartgeometry 2012 – design by zackery belanger, eric ameres, seth edwards, and guillermo bernal music by peter edwards

‘manta: first tests’ by zackery belanger the video pictures the first tests of the manta reactive acoustic surface, including assembly footage

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