ralf baecker - Crystal Set

Crystal Set

Installation - 2011
Video Documentation, Edith-Russ Haus Oldenburg, 2011

“Crystal Set / Self Test” executes an artistic test on the physical centerpiece of contemporary digital devices. The basic materials of our surrounding information technology are semiconducting crystals such as silicon, galena, germanium, or silicon carbide, which, thanks to today’s advanced microtechnology and extremely sophisticated procedures, are processed into transistors or integrated circuits (IC).

Crystal Set is an apparatus based on a “raw” silicon carbide specimen. 64 iron needles are attached to the surface of the specimen and build a semiconducting transition (diode) at the contact point. Silicon carbide has two additional qualities: it emits light at the contact point (LED) and produces audible signals (piezoelectric effect).

Software investigates the logical structure of the crystal. It applies different electronic patterns to the contacts based on an analysis of current flow, resistance, and response times in the specimen. By doing this it is inspecting its behavior in a closed feedback loop. As a result, it generates raw and untamed signals visible and audible to the observer.

Crystal Set - LEAP Berlin, 2013
Crystal Set - Detail, 2011
Crystal Set - Edith Russ Haus Oldernburg, 2011
Crystal Set - Edith Russ Haus Oldernburg, 2011
Crystal Set - Edith Russ Haus Oldernburg, 2011
Crystal Set - Closeup, 2011
Crystal Set - LEAP Berlin, 2013
Installation views at Edith Russ Haus for Media Art (2011) and LEAP Gallery, Berlin (2013)
silicon carbide (SiC), iron needles, acrylic glass, custom electronics

Produced with the support of the Edith Russ Site for Media Art


2019 Liquid Crystal World
Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA), Middlesbrough UK

2018 Liquid Crystal World
Site Gallery, Sheffield UK

2016 The Paradox of Knowing Universals
Kasseler Kunstverein, Kassel DE

2015 Superconduction. Challenge of art & technology
Pop-up exhibition by Laboratoria Moscow, Riga LV

2015 The Secret of the Machines
Kapelica Gallery, Ljubljana SLO

2014 Dernières Nouvelles de L’Éther
La Panacée, Montpellier FR

2013 In Search for Precise Pleasures
LEAP, Berlin DE

2011 Produced @ 10 Jahre Stipendium für Medienkunst
Edith Russ Site for Media Art, Oldenburg DE