October 15, 2020

Making the Phase Transitions

A behind-the-scene peak on my latest artwork.

The Phase Transition is an installation about the constant change. Click here to see the official documentation; this post is taking a closer look at the work's development.

One area that undergoes a continuous shift is the nature around us.


The weather can have similar stages, but there aren't two days that would be exactly the same. At the same time, the rain, clouds, and sunshine make for a beautiful show to watch. I wanted to utilise these qualities by using multiple states of matter (liquid, gas, solid) with light, to bring the concept to life. However, it took many refinements to get the final shape. Some of the early sketches included a pool of water, fog, and air in a single table.

At first, I wanted to use projection as the source of light, but eventually, I opted to uses different technologies (lasers, led lights, and mapped projection) to fully take advantage of the various mediums' potential. Meanwhile, I changed the format into wall-mounted frames.

While I learned about laser properties and different methods to achieve the fog, Scotland went into a lockdown period. As I couldn't access my studio, I had to adapt and do the development and testing from home. Working without a designated space and tools was tricky at times, but a swiss knife replaced cable cutters, a tape temporarily substituted soldering iron, and things started to happen.

The first version of the fog machine I built by using a recycling bin:

While it was a success and it produced fog, the shape was not satisfactory for the wall installation. I looked for something else to test the depth, current, and the shape of the trench and ended making versions from ice cream baskets. Much better!

A similar rocky path to the fog machine making happened with sourcing suitable lasers, as the standard used in entertaining business was of no use for me. But, after spending hours researching laser technology used in headlights of top-of-the-range Audi, BMW, and Mercedes cars, I found a solution that worked.

Then I programmed a generative animation for the projection...

...calculated all the sizes and finalized materials to order.

That way, I could start to put things together as soon as the studio opened — which felt amazing when that happened.

After constructing the frames, a shelf for the projector, and metalwork to hold the water, I moved to sort out the electronics.

The next thing was to get it PAT tested and approved by multiple safety inspections. This was a bit of a worry, as a combination of water and electricity usually raises red flags, but designing the installation with OHS in mind paid off. I passed, and moved onto the final stage: mounting it into the designated space.

If you liked this post, detailing a bit of the work behind my art, you might also enjoy stories about making my other projects, such as:





Browse my portfolio for finished works, and if you know somebody who would enjoy it as well, please share. Thanks for reading.

Published by: Jakub Stepanovic in Projects

Comments are closed.