Aluminium and motor
50 x 50 x 50cm
Imbuing technology with an element of surprise and humour, Jeppe Hein’s interactive works playfully remind viewers of their vital part in activating art’s communicative potential. At first glance Hein’s sculptures appear to be uncomplicated, formally simple affairs possibly nodding to 1970s conceptual art and minimalism, but something happens as they are approached: they react to human presence.
Shaking Cube (2004), an aluminium box placed directly on the floor, starts to vibrate when a visitor goes near it, stopping after a few seconds only to begin trembling again if the invisible field of motion sensors around it is entered again. We know it’s not alive, but it makes us take another look. Its sudden frantic movement and noise have a somewhat slapstick quality – think wind-up chattering teeth – but its animation is also disquieting, automaton-like, as if expressing alarm, a warning about something we cannot understand.