Reactive science design

exploring the emotion of science


In 2021 I started thinking about using the software Touchdesigner to create an open source application which scientists can use for motion design outputs that tickle the senses. In the process I found a partner in Bart van Son, a designer/researcher and alumni of University Leiden, department Media Technology. Two scientists connected to climate research allowed their data to be used for our experiment.

Gold production & mercury emission

In a conversation with scientists Frits Steenhuisen (Groningen University) and Martine van den Heuvel-Greve (IMARES/Wageningen University) we discovered how artisanal and small scale gold mining can be of significant influence on mercury emissions near the equator and have their effect on the ecosystem in the arctic. With that input we found the base ingredients for an experiment combining data and motion design to create an emotive experience.  

Science & emotion

A second part of our motion research was to search for a balance to bring both an informative as an emotional result, as we think the emotive state of a user can be a catalyst for action. To emphasise this idea we also wanted to incorporate sound. Composer and pianist Phillip Rüttgers delivered a spectrum of tones and chords which gave us the option to combine music with scientific data to create a harmonic or a chaotic situation. This sound library has become part of the result illustrating a result of human action in the need for gold. 

Art installation

We are looking to further develop our design in order to implement an idea of replaceable data input and to further develop a large immersive art installation in which visitors can experience the results of human action on the ecosystem through motion design and music.
In this stage we are presenting a series of short films which show you a result of of our particular experiment and we allow the public to download the project as a Touchdesigner file. We encourage designers to further explore our findings.


Click this link to download a .zip file including a folder with information and the Touch Designer open Source File
In this folder you will find a .toe (Touchdesigner) file to further explore.
In order to acces and use this file, you will need to install a (free) version of Touchdesigner.


Concept & design: Udo Prinsen & Bart van Son
Production: Prinsen.Studio
Music: Philipp Rüttgers
Scientists involved: Frits Steenhuisen (UNiversity of Groningen) & Martine van de Heuvel-Greve (Wageningen University & Research).
Touch Designer coaching: Stefan Kwint.

In the introduction film we use an image of a Greenland shark by Marc Dando, examples of Touchdesigner by Mary Frank and Rui Gato and film footage of Philipp Rüttgers by Seppe Ovink. In the project we have been assisted and inspired by Stefan Kwint, Joseph Wells and Bileam Tschepe, we also used a 3D grid of a Greenland shark by Jocelyn Simard.

We recommend you look into their work via these links
Stefan Kwint / Factiry Settings Youtube Instagram
Marc Dando on instagram
Mary Frank website
Rui Gato Website
Bileam Tschepe, Electronout Youtube
Jocelyn ‘Strob’ Simard website
Seppe Ovink website