Innovations in Visualization

Conditional Balance

Lindsay MacDonald
David Ledo
Sheelagh Carpendale


Conditional Balance is an interactive installation that reflects upon the risky nature of collaborations. This piece makes possible misunderstandings and tensions that can arise explicit, by reacting to both the presence and the position of viewers in a gallery space. Two balanced porcelain spheres represent the ideal outcome of the collaboration between two artists. On the floor are shards of broken porcelain from spheres that have fallen from their stands, representing failure and reminding viewers of the risks they take. Microsoft Kinects embedded in the stands supporting the spheres detect the body position of the viewers present. If two viewers shake hands in front of one of the spheres, a small peg will poke up underneath that sphere, causing it to fall. The other sphere wobbles with increasing intensity on its stand as viewers draw nearer to it.

Authors' Project Pages


CB Install CB Closer CB Falling CB detail CB viewers CB Shards1 CB detail2 CB Brain Work in progress - Leather Hard Spheres


See the video for Conditional Balance on vimeo.


Les HTMlles 10: Affaires à risques / Risky Business. Studio XX, Montréal, Quebec. November 10 – 23, 2012.


Interview with Lindsay MacDonald - Conditional Balance by Alice Carvalho. HTMlles Festival Blog.


Lindsay MacDonald. For every action: interactive installations in liminal spaces. In Proceedings of the 2014 companion publication on Designing interactive systems, pages 181-184, 2014. PDF Paper
Lindsay MacDonald, David Ledo, Miguel Nacenta, John Brosz and Sheelagh Carpendale. Authorship in Art/Science Collaboration is Tricky. In Proceedings of the CHI'13 Workshop on Crafting Interactive Systems: Learning from digital arts practice, April, 2013. PDF Paper