The Colloquy of Mobiles

Centre Pompidou

Paris, FR  2020

A full-scale version of cybernetician Gordon Pask’s 1968 Colloquy of Mobiles was constructed and exhibited at the Centre Pompidou in celebration of the original sculpture’s 50th anniversary. While its physical form strives to be as close as possible to the 1968 original, the new Colloquy of Mobiles incorporates modern digital software, sensors, and motors. This allows for the recreation of the dynamic interactions as Pask had originally designed, and invites students to explore the newest technologies as of 2018. The new Colloquy of Mobiles measures approximately 10’ by 12’ in floor area stretching from floor to ceiling.

Gordon Pask’s 1968 Colloquy of Mobiles was composed of sculptural figures that interacted through light and sound, with each other and with the public. Frequently praised for its originality and influence, Pask’s Colloquy was a precursor to future works of contemporary art and design, as well as a prescient vision of our future with machines that choose to act on their own.

Fifty years later, students from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan mined historical materials on The 1968 Colloquy and built a repository of understanding to share with the world. Students in Interaction Design Studio IV: Immersive Interactive Experiences created a detailed script of how the mobiles interact, a necessary step before coding the Colloquy’s interactions. In Interaction Design Studio II: IoT & Prototyping, students constructed a 1/6-scale model of the original. With student work as a foundation, Master Fabricator TJ McLeish specified the final sculpture’s dimensions, structure, and operation and built the full-scale replica. This massive effort involved 3D CAD models of all the components, tech specs of motors and lights and electronics, and management of the fabrication and assembly of the whole installation. 

Colloquy of Mobiles Website

Project Leads

  • Paul Pangaro
  • TJ McLeish
  • Mike Evans
  • Dexter Slusarski
  • Bruce McIntosh
  • Steve Stavropoulos

Designers

Chia-min Lin
Rutuja Jog
Pooja Upadhyay
Gissoo Doroudian
Zhibin Wu
Sofia Lewandowski
Khyati Shah
Alicia Secord
Sonya Golden
Brendan Quinn
Wendy Wang
Ke Xu

Advisors

Amanda Pask-Heitler
Hermione Pask
Jessia Reishardt
Andrew Pickering
Guilherme Kujawski
Hugh Dubberly
Karen Kornblum
John Plunkett
Vince Carducci
Marc Schwartz