The project takes influence from some a couple notable instruments in history besides the modern seismograph.
Zhang Heng's Seismoscope
Created in 132 A.D. the instrument was said to house a pendulum inside that would detect earthquakes, then this would pull a ball out of the dragons mouth into the frogs mouth below. This would detect the direction of the earthquake by the ball falling in the mouth of the frog at one of eight principle directions. It first worked in 138 A.D. detecting an earthquake 1000km away. It was the first time mankind had used an instrument to detect an earthquake.
The Tempest Prognosticator AKA 'The Leech Barometer'
19th Century invention created by George Merryweather. 12 Leeches are kept is small vials and when a storm is near they become agitated and try to crawl out, triggering a small hammer that strikes a bell. The more bells struck, the higher the likely hood of an incoming storm. Merryweather referred to the leeches as his "jury of philosophical councilors".
In Japanese mythology, the Namazu is a giant catfish who causes earthquakes, and was worshiped as a god of world rectification.
The origin of this story is the fact that these catfish can sense the small tremors which happen before an earthquake, and are known to be more active at such times. This sudden activity was observed in ancient times and believed the quakes to be the result of a giant catfish.
I also gained influence from a range of other Ferrofluid projects, especially those by Japanese artist Sachiko Kodama who collaborated with Minako Takeno on installation pieces Protrude, Flow (2001) Pulsate (2002), Equilibrium Point (2003). Also it is hard to deny the influence came from the Ferrofluid itself, as Noel (2008, p.122) pretty much sums it up “The animated fluid becomes a kind of ghostly protagonist, a manifestation of another world”...and I totally agree!
Noel, S. (2008) Digital By Design Thames & Hudson Ltd.