The Separation Machine


The Separation Machine


Created in collaboration with Simon Donnelly and Nadia Gunawan

Installed in the White House Gallery, University of Limerick 2019 as part of the exhibition; 2 Degrees Celcius


Media: Iron oxide powder, magnets, glass, engine oil, water, pumps, motors, wooden mechanism, custom software, custom hardware


The Separation Machine is a kinetic installation that presents viewer's with a visualisation of the the increasing damage being done to our oceans by large industry, causing growing areas of hypoxia, as well as plastic pollution. A mechanism propels magnets in spiralling patterns, causing magnetic powder suspended in motor oil to be dragged around a glass tank of water. As this durational piece progresses, more oil and magnetic powder are pumped in to the water periodically, causing greater resistance for the magnets as they attempt to separate the impurities from the water.


This visualisation aims to emphasise the futility of individual efforts to prevent climate change while large industry continues to make little or no effort in becoming environmentally friendly.