Sound Activated Mobile (SAM)


S.A.M. was a pioneering kinetic sculpture that responded to sounds and noises around it. It was exhibited at the ‘Cybernetic Serendipity’ exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), London in 1968 and later toured Canada and the US ending at the Exploratorium in San Fransisco.


S.A.M. consisted of an assembly of aluminium castings somewhat reminiscent of vertebrae, surmounted by a flower-like fibreglass reflector with an array of four small microphones mounted immediately in front of it. The vertebrae contained miniature hydraulic pistons which enabled them to move in relation to each other so that the whole column could twist from side to side and lean forwards and backwards. A simple electronic circuit used the signals from the four microphones to determine the direction which any sound in the vicinity was coming from and two electo-hydraulic servo-valves moved the column in the direction of the sound until the microphones faced it.

A more detailed technical descriprion of the work is availiable here >>