Nils Ekman

Hard Birth‎

13.12. – 15.12.2019

‘Carromancy’ (from Greek carro, ‘waxen’, and manteia, ‘divination’) is a water casting technique found as a tradition in various folk cultures in which wax is melted and then poured into cold water. As the hot wax meets the cold water, turbulence emerge which often give rise to dramatic shapes as the wax solidifies. The outcome is then used to forecast the future.

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is a tool in contemporary engineering used to perform detailed predictions of fluid flows providing useful data for design optimization. Because of its high complexity, the progress of turbulence rapidly gets beyond what is computationally possible to simulate. Therefore, a smaller simulation model is often used to extrapolate the effects on a larger scale.

The exhibition «Hard Birth» at Studio17 consists of a large object, the form of which has been generated through a computational fluid simulation of a turbulent flow. Based on a series of pre-set variables, similar to the conditions of carromancy, the simulation has started and then been paused at a randomly selected point. The resulting shape has then been given physical form by the use of 3D printing and industrial clay – a wax based material used in automotive prototyping. In what could be described as a scientific equivalent to carromacy, the work blurs the border between computational prediction and prophecy, creating a link between advanced engineering prototyping and occult divination. As computer simulation occupies an intermediate position between that of formal theory and laboratory experiment, the object is both the prediction and the outcome of an event. Embodying a motion that might unfold in the future, the object becomes a prophecy of its own creation.


Friday, 13.12.2019, 18:00–20:00

Opening hours:

Saturday–Sunday, 12:00–16:00