somasoma

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Soma translates the anatomy of neurons into metal, fire and light; magnifying the microscopic world to an epic scale. In Soma, an elegant axon arch connects an earthbound neuron with its partner floating overhead.

Fire and light flow like electrochemical signals between Soma’s two neurons. Spinning balls of fire form the neuron’s nuclei. Slender dendrites extend to the sky and reach down to the earth, emitting constant flame and color changing light.

Computer-controlled flame and sequenced LEDS travel in patterns along the raised Soma archway, creating a spectacular, unique show. Throughout the sculpture, fire and LED lighting accentuate not only the curves and geometric forms of the sculpture, but also the very concept of neuronal transmission of information.

All of the fire effects on Soma are participant controlled, allowing the public to communicate with the sculpture itself. Soma offers participants an interactive installation that investigates the very basis of intellectual communication. It invites them to be an active force in this communication, providing input via the controls, sharing their knowledge and creating messages of warmth.

A Soma is a cell body of a neuron with branching dendrites (signal receivers) and a projection called an axon, which conducts the nerve signal. At the other end of the axon, the axon terminals transmit electro-chemical signals across a synapse (the gap between the axon terminal and the receiving cell).

Soma is an interactive sculptural installation depicting two communicating neurons made of stainless steel, copper, aluminum, bronze, resin, fire and light. Each of Soma’s two neurons has a spinning fire nucleus. The nuclei are counter spinning balls of flame with variable speed motors.

Soma is 25 feet high and 50 feet long. It is roughly a rectangular shape that occupies approximately 5,000 square feet including the fuel depot. She uses up to 100 gallons of fuel per hour.

There are 35 Dendrites using approx. 21' of stainless steel tubing each. 735 feet of stainless steel tubing was used for dendrites over all.

Two dodecahedrons constructed from 24 stainless steel pentagons comprise the cell bodies of Soma, and enclose the nuclei. Each pentagon used about 10' of stainless steel tubing. A total 240 feet of stainless steel tubing was used for the dodecahedrons.

There are flame effects running down the axon which simulate signal neurotransmission. Participants control the “neurotransmission” by pushing buttons. A “Sparkle Poof” simulates release of neurotransmitters at the synapse. Each aerial dendrite and the axon burn with continuous flame effects.


Soma has more than 60 custom LED packages, each housed in a unique casting constructed of resin and aluminum that can each output 270 lumens of light, each individually controllable and capable of 16 million colors.