The Rice-Pile Model 2019

About This Project

The real-world is a complex system formed by a network of interconnected entities. Such a system exhibits very unique dynamics where the concept of criticality or “the tipping point” is very important and relevant to us. The Rice-Pile Model is based on the physical model of the same name for studying complex critical phenomena such as climate change, avalanche, as well as the spread of diseases and stock market crash. It is a reminder that miniature changes can trigger a drastic event (like a landslide) at a much larger system scale.


We translate the minute granular motion into loud trembling sounds on-the-fly with the help of motion detection and sound technologies. The audio/visual installation oscillate the senses of the viewers between the microscopic and the macroscopic world.


While the audience are captivated in the “live experiment” in front of them, the work also prompts them to understand the underlying mechanisms for the issues we face today, such as the climate change, ant-microbial resistance, food security and biodiversity. These are all examples of critical phenomena arising from complexity, which has become increasingly evident and relevant to us.



Special thanks to Diemo Schwarz (IRCAM).

This project is developed as part of the 2019 studio summer internship program with interns Wei-Zhe Tzeng, Szu-Yu Chen and Da-Yu Lin.