a person is placing a token into a bucket that is part of a dynamically moving kinetic mobile
Art Installations


Kinnectivity is a family of kinetic sculptures that investigate physical and spatial connectivity as mapmaking tools and conversational devices for charting our place in the world.


Julia Margaret Lu


Simone Salvo


Would you rather live forever or infinitely reincarnate? This question is the conversational device behind a kinetic mobile titled ‘how to hold the memory of a conversation’. The mobile is a dynamic spatial object that invites the audience to manipulate its shape through responses to the question. It lives with a set of twins, ‘walkie & talkie’, identical kinetic mobiles that communicate with each other from separated spaces. ‘walkie & talkie’ are exploded walkie talkie devices that expose all the components in a walkie talkie and emphasize the connections between them. The Kinnectivity family of kinetic sculptures are explorations in spatial cartography, asking how human connection can be dynamically captured in space. They each use a conversational device to invite viewers to interact and engage with the piece. In ‘how to hold the memory of a conversation,’ viewers answer a question by casting tokens into buckets that affect the weight and balance of the mobile. Any one instance will move the piece in space and over time the collection of tokens will change the overall static shape of the mobile. ‘walkie & talkie’ invite viewers to physically embody a conversation through a familiar communication device. The walkie talkie’s convenience and portability are taken away and the device is changed into a spatial object that creates space to have a conversation.

a person is placing a token into a bucket that is part of a dynamically moving kinetic mobile


This project was inspired by the death of my grandfather, who built an enormous network for himself in America that expanded exponentially until his passing. His death reminded me that everyone and everything in the world is connected to each other. Many of those connections exist in the background or are not easily perceived. How then, do we understand the extent of the networks that we belong to? How can we create maps of these intricate and elaborate networks to understand our connection to each other? Kinnectivity makes references to mapmaking, cartography, storytelling, and artists including Alexander Calder, Sarah Sze, Gordon Matta Clark, and Jean Tinguely. Peter Turchi’s book ‘Maps of the Imagination’ was an invaluable resource and taught me how to interpret a story from a map, and vice versa. Gordon Matta Clark’s monograph ‘The Beginning of Trees and the End’ revealed a rich thought process on connectivity and flow translated through diagram, illustration, and drawing. In 2013, a close friend introduced me to Mark Lombardi’s ‘Narrative Structures’, which have been instrumental in shaping the way I think about my place in the world. The prolific editor and curator Hans Ulrich Obrist’s anthology ‘Mapping it Out: An Alternative Atlas of Contemporary Cartographies’ offered an abundance of creative variations on mapmaking from a variety of sources that opened my perspective. Alexander Calder’s oeuvre served as the foundation for my interest in kinetic sculpture and mobiles. Sarah Sze’s ongoing studies in sculpture, painting, and more continue to inspire the way I understand connective layering in narrative networks. Jean Tinguely’s ‘Head’ in the Fontainebleau forest is a complete work of art and masterpiece in kinetic play and spatial curiosity. The themes for Kinnectivity were initially inspired and informed by a systems mapping exercise that pulled all the pieces for this project from within me. Luisa Pereira, Simone Salvo, and Divya Mehra shepherded this process, with additional support from Molly Ritmiller, Tom Igoe, and Phil Caridi.

Technical Details

'how to hold the memory of a conversation' is mostly an analog work of art using gravity. However, it has a feedback response that is triggered when a person tosses a token into the bucket. Using an Arduino Nano 33 IoT, a microphone, a local WiFi network, and 2 Philips Hue bulbs, a light turns on to notify the audience that your answer has been received. 'walkie & talkie' manipulates an existing walkie talkie module and also uses gravity and architectural features to create an experience.

two people looking at a kinetic mobile titled 'how to hold the memory of a conversation,' they are inspecting it with their hands and eyesa person speaks into the microphone of a walkie talkie in one of two kinetic mobiles titled 'walkie & talkie'a person speaks into the microphone of a walkie talkie that is part of a kinetic mobile titled 'walkie & talkie'