Tour Cybernétique (Cybernetic Tower)
Parc de la BoverieLiège, Belgium
Nicolas Schöffer’s massive interactive sculpture was assembled in 1961 and brought back online in 2016.
A STRUCTURE OF STEEL TUBES and blades towers 52 meters (170 feet) over the Parc de la Boverie in Liège, Belgium. Known as Tour Cybernétique (the Cybernetic Tower), the monumental structure was designed by the artist Nicolas Schöffer and assembled in 1961.
Nicolas Schöffer is known as the father of cybernetic art, which priotizes feedback over traditional aesthetics. Cybernetic art uses audio and visual feedback, computer-generated compositions, and other technological elements to create pieces of striking modernist art.
Tour Cybernétique interacts with environment through an electronic brain located in a nearby convention center, the Palais des Congrès. It is equipped with microphones, light sensors, a hygrometer, and an anemometer. This way the tower receives data about noise, light intensity, humidity and wind. Depending on this input, the electronic brain can set in motion the different pads or start one of the 12 musical sequences or light up the area with one of its 120 multi-color projectors.
Due to lack of proper maintenance, the tower was deactivated in 1970. The tower however stayed and as a testimony of a scientific process it was later classified as an exceptional heritage. In 2002, a project to restore of the tower began. In 2015 it was dismantled for a complete renovation. The control and electrical systems and lights were updated and modernized. In 2016, after more than 40 years of inactivity, the tower was operational once again.