Germaine Koh: Topographic Table

  • ©2013, Germaine Koh, Topographic Table
  • ©2013, Germaine Koh, Topographic Table
  • ©2013, Germaine Koh, Topographic Table


    Topographic Table

Artist(s) and People Involved:



Creation Year:



    CNC-routered baltic birch plywood table top, steel frame, sensors and internet-connected electronics


    30 x 36 x 60 inches

Artist Statement:

    Topographic Table is an uneasy piece of furniture, which disrupts notions of art and its behavior in the gallery. The CNC-routered plies of the thick
    plywood tabletop recreate the contours of the massive mountains north of Vancouver — an area due for a catastrophic seismic event. This uncomfortable surface is also emotionally on edge: Internet-connected electronics embedded in the frame shake the table in response to local vibration sensor input and Twitter news about earthquakes in the Vancouver and Pacific Northwest area. Equating physical events and online chatter,
    the piece suggests some interpenetration of the two sensing systems. The represented region is an earthquake-rich zone due to its proximity to the Juan de Fuca subduction fault off of Vancouver Island. Germaine Koh’s Topographic Table physically replicates the emotional state of the province as it nervously awaits a megathrust quake. Koh’s miniature landscape, with its equally-diminished quavering condition, collapses geologic and dialogic events to enchanting effect. Like children, we are mesmerized by the miniature world we are able to contemplate from the safety of the gallery. Like many a prophetic newscast, Topographic Table disrupts our sense of comfort with the majestic mountainous Vancouver skyline, although it succeeds in doing so through aesthetic seduction rather than fear.

    CNC machining: Emily Carr University of Art + Design, metal fabrication:Alan Waldron / Infi nite FX, 3D modelling: Hamza Vora, programming: Gordon Hicks


Additional Images: