The last project I will describe
in detail is the Pepsi Pavilion. In late 1968, Pepsi-Cola
approached E.A.T. to design and program a Pavilion for
Expo '70 in Osaka, Japan. Robert Breer and I chose Robert
Whitman, Frosty Myers and David Tudor to work on the first
The roof of the Buckminster Fuller
style geodesic dome was covered by a water vapor cloud
sculpture, designed by Fujiko Nakaya. When fully operational,
the fog system was capable of generating a 6 foot thick
150 foot diameter area of fog. And on the terrace are
seven of Robert Breer's Floats, six-foot high sculptures
which moved around at less than 2 feet per minute, emitting
The cloud was produced when water
under pressure of 500 psi was pushed through jet-spray
nozzles and broken up into the water drops small enough
to remain suspended in air. Strands of nozzles were installed
in the ridges and valleys on the top section of the roof.
The system used 2520 jet-spray nozzles.
The three legged black poles are part
of Frosty Myers' Light Frame sculpture. Four such poles
of different heights, were set in a square 130 feet apart
at each corner of the Pavilion plaza. At the top of each
pole were two 500-watt, high intensity xenon lights. Each
light was directed toward the light of the neighboring
tower, creating a very narrow pencil beam of light between
each tower. This created a well-defined tilted square
of white light framing the pavilion at night.
Robert Breer's Floats moved slowly
around the plaza. When they hit an obstacle or were pushed
they would reverse direction. A battery-operated tape
recorder inside each Float played low sounds like sawing,
a group of people describing a view in English, a truck
starting up and driving away, humpback whale songs. The
kids loved them, as you can see from the slide on the
The visitor entered through a tunnel
and descended into a dark clam-shaped room lit only by
moving patterns of laser light. The Clam Room is where
people first entered the pavilion. Lowell Cross designed
the laser deflection system which used the four colors
from a krypton laser. The highly sensitive mirrors in
the system could vibrate up to rates of 500 cycles per
second and were activated from the sound system in the
Upstairs the main space of the Pavilion
was a 90-foot diameter 210-degree spherical mirror made
of aluminized mylar. The artists conceived of this space
as performance area that could be used by many visiting
artists during Expo '70.
The mirror fulfilled all our expectations.
Our architect John Pearce devised an ingenious way the
mylar mirror could be fitted inside an air tight cage
structure. A slight vacuum of less than 1/1000 of an atmosphere,
which could be handled by a couple of good sized fans,
would be sufficient to hold up the mirror. By having a
negative pressure air structure, there was no need for
cumbersome air locks.
This optical effect in a spherical
mirror of producing a real image resembles that of a hologram.
The difference is that because of the size of our mirror,
a spectator looking at an image could walk around the
image and see it from all sides.
The space in the mirror was gentle
and poetic, rich and always changing. It was complex in
spite of its simplicity. We discovered new and complicated
optical effects every day. The slide to the right is projected
upside down. Once the visitors could see themselves as
a real image in the mirror, the reaction was incredible.
It created much more excitement than we ever could have
David Tudor designed the sound system
as an "instrument" with 32 inputs and 37 speakers arranged
in a in a rhombic grid on the surface of the dome behind
the mirror. Sound could be moved at varying speeds linearly
across the dome and in circles around the dome. Sound
could be shifted abruptly from any one speaker to any
other speaker, creating point sources of sound. All speakers
were capable of giving out the same sound. The lights
and sound could either be pre-programmed or controlled
in real time by the artists from a console at one side
of the dome.
The floor was divided into 10 areas
made up of different materials, such as astroturf, rough
wood, slate, tile, asphalt. Through handsets, like the
one held by the boy in the left slide, visitors could
hear specific sounds on each different floor material.
On the tile floor: horses hooves and shattering glass;
on the astroturf: ducks, frogs, cicadas and lions roaring.
These sounds were transmitted from wire loops embedded
in the floor.
Twenty 100-turn wire coils or loops
1 foot in diameter were embedded under each of the floor
sections and were fed by tape recorders. The low frequency
magnetic field they generated was picked up and amplified
through handsets the visitors carried. The innovation
in this system was the use of a large number of coils
for each area to obtain an even distribution of the sound
and not have sound spill over to another area.