Talking Stone

Roland Arnoldt

A stone talks to humans when they are in tune with the language of the universe – true randomness.


Natural granite rock emits radioactive beta-particles at an amount that is considered non-harmful to humans. The moment of decay of each of these particles (mixed with gamma-particles from universal background radiation) can be detected by a geiger-counter and is true random according to quantum-mechanics. The geiger-counter is connected to an Arduino that compares the decay patterns of the rock with the knocking-patterns of the audience picked up with a piezo element mounted on the stone. When both align for a certain time, a solenoid hits the stone in the random pattern detected by the geiger-counter in real-time for 15 seconds. After the stone has knocked back, it is waiting again for humans to knock and possibly “unlock” it. As the chances are very low to get the pattern right from the beginning, the delayed gratification and moment of surprise has a higher impact on the audience. The core idea is to provide the audience with a playful and at the same time meditative experience. It helps them to establish an artistic dialogue with the universe that is based on the scientific principles of quantum mechanics and true randomness. True randomness can be regarded as a spiritual means as its mere existence as a principle questions our rules of logic and reason: We have no explanation for true randomness – but we know that it is a fundamental principle of the universe.


Energy, Project Development Studio