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Mine-Control is an artistic endeavor of Zachary Booth Simpson with contributions from many of his friends. We create interactive installation artwork with natural and scientific themes for museums, hospitals, and many other venues around the world.

At Mine-Control, we believe that art can be both playful and thought-provoking. Using unique technologies incorporating the entire body, a broad knowledge of science, and a long history of game development, we turn viewers into participants and teach them something along the way.

Learn more in a video interview with Zack, or read a Science Magazine article about him.

Visit Zack's home page or his blog.


Contact Us:
Address: 3202 Hemphill Park Austin, Texas 78705
Phone: (512) 981-6694 
Email: zack.simpson AT gmail.com
Salmon
"Walk on Salmon" is a simple experiential piece that illustrates the schooling behavior of fish, created for a salmon hatchery museum in Norway. As the participant enters the stage, the fish quickly move away, forming sinuous ribbons that wrap around the moving participants. Various water effects create an illusion of depth.
Sand
A stream of liquid sand flows from above and reacts with your shadow as if it were solid. Its hypnotic motion conjures childhood feelings of playing with water or building wet sandcastles. Like making shadow puppets, you can easily construct concave structures with your hands to catch the sand and then you can pour it from hand to hand or maybe into your friend's mouth. 
Mariposa
A swarm of butterflies circles as if looking for something. When your shadow enters nothing appears to happen at first; eventually, if you remain very still, you gain their trust and they begin to land on your hand or shoulder to rest. If you make a sudden movement they will scatter as even the slightest twitch sends them into a panic.
Marble Marshal
Can you marshal the group of red and blue marbles into two distinct groups?  It's harder than it looks because the marbles tend to stick together.  You'll probably have to use your whole body and have some help.  Before long it might seem like you are playing a game of twister. Even if you don't want to play the game, you might end up transfixed by the beautiful marbles.
Mercury Bubbles
with Brain Sharp

An impossible fluid reacts to your shadow forming long polymer chains and loops.   Although exotic, the action of the bubbles is surprisingly intuitive.  Connect the chains to the color generators and brilliant colors emerge from diffusion. Want a challenge? Try building concentric rings like this:
Dragonfly
A swarm of dragonflies playfully interacts with the participant's shadow.  When left alone, they seek out the cracks in the wall and await for the fun to return. 
Moderation
This work draws its inspiration from Princess Mononoke by the legendary anime director Hayao Miyazaki .  Participants step through a shallow stream and their presence triggers a magical flowering of life. They must tread with care though, for as the title implies, over aggressive demands on the environment have unintended consequences.
Elevator Goblins
A swarm of fire goblins lives underneath the "in case of fire, do not use elevator" panel in the Austin City Hall.  When people come by to call the elevator, these fiery critters jump out to play. Recipient of 2008 City of Austin People's Choice Award.
Pond
A pond of fish that eat plants.  When you walk up, there are but few plants because the fish keep the population low.  When you enter, the fish swarm playfully with you but ignore the plants; thus the plant population swells, demonstrating that a counter-intuitive result of ecosystem disruption is not the destruction of a species but rather a bloom.
Reflecting Pool
In an alcove, water flows into a pool surrounded by plants.  The water trickles down the wall and ripples in the pool.  You reach to touch the water, and it flows around your shadow.  Many people are surprised when they touch the water and discover that is is dry.
Flower Garden
A diversity of flowers bump and bustle as if the wall were the surface of a pond. Over time they fade and die, unless you encourage them with light... a flashlight hangs from the ceiling for this purpose. Give a flower enough light and it will burst into children flowers.  Most of these children will be similar, but not identical, to the parent; others will be wild mutants. Over time, the garden grows and adapts to your taste and mood.
Fire
Your shadow is combustible.
Swarm
A swarm of creatures scoots about, schooling like fish or bustling like ants, depending on their mood. As your shadow enters, the creatures rush towards you and hide inside your shadow. You move and reveal them behind you, crowded together and squirming like insects. If you are like most people, you at first have a visceral feeling of being attacked by bugs and maybe you pull away. As you get used to them, you might enjoy the feeling of grooving with this band of critters.  If you pay attention, you may discover that, whether you like it or not, you are an integral part of their ecosystem.
Resonator
Weighted balls hang from springs and are attracted to the participant's shadow.  Because each has a different mass, each has a different resonant frequency.  If you can wave your arms to synchronize with the period of one of the balls you will transfer much energy into them and get them high enough to hit the bell and get a nice effect.
Mixing Molecules
Part of the molecular series, this piece lets visitors manipulate virtual molecules that are diffusing out from two sources.  When the two kinds of molecules find each other, they react in an energetic way.  Participants can work together to create a large concentration of the reactants and then bring these together for a much larger explosive effect.  The piece demonstrates how the ensemble of many small particles creates the chemical effects that we experience at a macro-scale.
Comet
Participants launch comets into a model of the inner solar system and watch as fly through complicated, hypnotic orbits - with the occasional satisfying crash into a planet!
Crystal
Water molecules form a crystal when your hand creates a nucleation point.  Part of the Molecule Series.
RNA Folding
A cartoon simulation of an RNA molecule floats on a rear-project screen.  Participants use their hands to pull the linear polymer apart and watch as it folds back again into its native conformation.  RNA is perhaps the most important molecule of life, as it can carry information and act as a catalyst.  See for yourself the thermodynamics of how life began!  Part of the molecule series.
Salt Freakout
A simulation of a salt crystal is shown.  When participants wave their arms, they heat up the solution causing the crystal to dissolve.  Let the solution cool and the atoms will precipitate back out of solution again.
Interference
As a participant places her hand on the canvas, light emanates in the direction her hand is facing.  When a second hand is placed, the light beams interfere with one another, creating brilliant and beautiful interference patterns.  The simulation is actually an accurate scientific visualization of radio-frequency interferometry.
Fractal Zoom
Fractal Zoom allows participants to explore the Mandelbrot set. By forming a loop with their fingers, they are able to create a kind of magic magnifying glass with which they can zoom into any part of the set. In the top corner, the scale factor is related in familiar dimensions.
Shadow Harp
A harp built by aliens produces a never-ending musical round.
Microbial Jazz
A genetic algorithm allows you to breed bars of jazz. When a bar is selected you hear its composition and also cause it to have "babies" which are similar to the "parent". Over time, a simple melody becomes interesting and rich.
Birthday
Children jump over each other to be the first to pop the letter balloons that spell out a customizable Happy Birthday message.
OK, great art it's not, but when you're 4 years old at a children's museum birthday party and hopped up on cupcakes, it's pure fun!
Laser Go
Play the ancient board game of Go using laser points while lounging on the couch!
Double Dutch Jump Rope
Laser pointers are used in tandem to swing a jump rope in order to hit patterned targets.  Coordinating your actions with a partner is an exercise in mind merging!
Calder
Using new infrared sensing technology on a rear-projected screen, participants simply draw a Calder-like mobile by touching the canvas.  When they hold a beam, the mobile comes alive, moving around in 3D with realistic physics.  Experience Calder mobiles the way Calder meant you to: by playing with them!
Mondriaan
With the same technology and in the same spirit as the Calder piece, this work permits participants to simply sketch out and edit compositions in the style of the great abstractionist Piet Mondrian.  Create your own composition in 10 seconds!
Shadow
with Adam Frank Eyebeam Artists in Residence 2003, New York.

A disembodied shadow wanders around alone in a corner.  When the participant enters, the figure reacts by running away.  Aggressively chasing the figure leads only to his fear and escape. When the participants stay still, the figure gains trust and steps closer, finally engaging in an embrace.
Light Smoke
A swirl of smoke swirls around your flashlight beam like insects around a light or maybe like a galactic star cluster around a black hole. Create interstellar dust clouds and mix them up in a blender.
Save The Baby?
Save the Baby?" appears to be a large-scale video game, however, the audience must discover the objective on their own, and as they do, there are some important surprises!  The piece forces the participants to question why and how they choose to solve problems - in games and real life.
La Navaja en el Ojo
We have at times used our interactive systems in large-scale theatrical productions such as the Valencia's Biannual of Art and Fashion.
(c) 2014 Mine-Control, Inc.