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The pulsating rhythm of a city of 13 million people. A new kinetic sculpture by Warsaw studio panGenerator

23 of September '20

A kinetic sculpture inspired by the movements of shoals in nature has been erected at Shenzhen's Bao'an Airport. Thanks to advanced technology, the sculpture reacts to the movement of the city's various districts and visualizes it in real time. The authors are designers from the Warsaw-based panGenerator studio.

Installation at Shenzhen airport

© panGenerator

The patron of this unusual project is Tencent, a multinational technology and investment corporation that brings together a number of companies from various industries including e-commerce, video games, software, virtual reality, big data and cloud computing. It is the latter that Tencent's commissioned sculpture "The Shimmering Pulse of Shenzhen" addresses . The project consists of 451 proprietary kinetic modules, designed from scratch for the purpose, arranged on the surface of a hexagonal structure with a diameter of 4 meters. Each module individually reacts to the light projected from the projector above, making it possible to precisely synchronize all elements and animate the entire surface. The light is translated into the rotational movement of the disks, which spin and expand due to centrifugal force, revealing a subtly iridescent interior contrasting with the object's black surface. Authors Krzysztof Cybulski, Krzysztof Golinski and Jakub Kozminski of the panGenerator group call the installation "infosculpture." It abstractly displays the changing traffic volumes of Shenzhen's 9 districts throughout the day thanks to real-time data provided by Tencent.

new giant city

instalacja Pan Generator,

installation detail

© panGenerator

Shenzen is a city in southeastern China located in the roughly 100-million-strong Pearl River Delta metropolitan area. The city currently has a population of 13 million. However, its rapid development did not occur until the last decades of the 20th century. In 1979, when Shenzhen was granted municipal rights, it had a population of about 30,000. A year later, China's first special economic zone was established in Shenzhen, which began to attract investors to the city. Today Shenzhen is one of the more strongly developing cities in China with a very strong economic position. One of the corporations that has its headquarters there is Tencent.

the pulsating rhythm of the city

In choosing the location of the sculpture, Tencent wanted to emphasize its commitment to the city while also reaching a wide audience from around the world. Bao'an Airport is the fifth-largest in China and serves some 53 million passengers annually. The sculpture creatively showcases the company's Big Data and data management activities. As the designers at panGenerator point out, the reference to a school of fish or a flock of birds is a good metaphor for a metropolis of several million people. In such collections, the individual behaviors of each individual translate into a coherent and dynamically changing form of the whole - just as the individual behaviors of city residents create synchronized traffic patterns and a specific pulse of the entire city.

Pan Generator, instalacja,
widok ogólny

installation, general view

© panGenerator

pioneers of new art

panGenerator is a Warsaw-based design and new media collective created by Piotr Barszczewski, Krzysztof Cybulski, Krzysztof Golinski and Jakub Koźniewski. Since 2010, they have been designing structures that blur the boundaries between art, technology and media. They use technology to create installations that blend the real and digital worlds. Through the use of solutions such as single buttons, motion sensors and sound recorders, they engage audiences on multiple levels of sensory experience. They have numerous projects to their credit, both for commercial investors and museums and cultural institutions. It is among the latter that two were recognized and awarded the Passport of Polityka last year. The electroacoustic installation "Apartum" was commissioned by the Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Warsaw and refers to the experimental activities of Polish Radio. In turn, "Spiralala" makes use of the architecture and acoustics of the Szczecin Philharmonic Hall. Members of panGenerator also teach at Poland's first postgraduate program dedicated to the application of technology in artistic practice, Creative Coding at the School of Forms in Warsaw.

elaboration: Helena Postawka-Lech

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