What exactly is going on in the video example? I understand the phenomena occurs because of magnetism but I am trying to figure out the mechanics behind this sculpture. There obviously is a magnet underneath but what is it doing? Is it moving? Is it getting some type of charge? Any insight is great!
I think I can tackle the mechanics aspect. What you can see is an inverted metallic cone with a helical groove running down and around its surface. On zooming in, you the perforations in the cone's surface. There is a pump which pumps the fluid back to the top as it flows down. As the empty cone begins to refill, the fluid also starts to leak out of the sides. That is why you see that flowery pattern emerge from the bottom and travel upwards. Once the fluid reaches the top the cone is filled and at maximum pressure, when the pump is turned off and the cycle begins again.
So the purely mechanical aspect of this construction is very clever on its own and presumably substituting other fluids would yield different kinds of fountains.
The leafy structure is generated due to magnetic fields. I can't say how exactly.
PS: On further reflection it seems that one can have an electromagnetic pump rather than a mechanical one. Imagine a inductor running through the center of the cone. A sinusoidal current would generate a sinusoidal magnetic field within the inductor, which would alternately pull the fluid up the cone and then push it back down.
IMO this is only obtained with an electromagnet inside this cone structure. The cuts only help to spin the fluid moving up/downwards.
Here is a "more verbose" example of such a structure: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OE2pB1pyZN0