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Posts marked kinetic

Breaking Wave is a kinetic sculpture designed by Plebian Design and Hypersonic for the biotechnology company Biogen-Idec’s new headquarters in Cambridge, MA.

About the project:

Breaking Wave tells the story of the search for patterns, and the surprising results that come by changing our point of view. 804 suspended spheres move in a wave-like formation. When the wave crests and breaks, the balls hover momentarily in a cloud. From almost anywhere in the room, this cloud is purely chaotic, but step into one of two hidden spots, and this apparent chaos shows a hidden pattern. From the first, a labyrinth hints at the search for knowledge, and from the second, a Fibonacci spiral inspired flower reminds us of the natural order and patterns found in nature.

Scientists search through billions of experimental data points in order to find patterns to develop new drugs, to treat Multiple Sclerosis, Cancer, and other diseases. Without a particular framework or perspective, these are just 0’s and 1’s, with no form or information. But with the perspective of an understanding of molecular dynamics, these data points create a clear picture about the hidden dynamics within the body, and allow scientists to craft drugs to successfully treat these diseases.

Above the sculpture lies the mechanism that drives its motion. A motor drives a large rotating stainless steel cam. 36 rollers follow the contour of the cam, which traces out the overall waveform. Each roller slides on a linear track, pulling a cable that spins one of the 36 output shafts. Distributed along each shaft are different sized drums from which the wooden sphere (coated in zinc and steel, and then rusted chemically) are hung. As the shafts rotate, the drums pull the balls up and down – larger drums pull balls higher. In this way, the size of the 804 drums mechanically programs the images hidden in the cloud of balls.

See it in motion in this video:

Breaking Wave from PLEBIAN DESIGN on Vimeo.

Capacitor by John Grade

About the project:

The sculpture slowly opens and closes as well as changes internal light intensity via a controller powering a mechanical transmission wired to sensor feeds on the roof of the museum. Historical weather data is correlated to real time data determining the pace of movement and light intensity change. The further the current readings differ from historical norms, the greater the change in movement in light.

Triple Helix is a kinetic sculpture by Reuben Margolin

Margolin on his project:

For years now, whenever my mind was free to drift, I’ve invariably found myself trying to imagine the confluence of three waves. I had a feeling the forms created would be beautiful, and somehow true to this world. But the design proved wonderfully elusive, and the mental pursuit took me down all sorts of paths…

The Triple Helix has 1027 hexagonal wood blocks, a welded steel frame, three aluminum helices and a polycarbonate matrix with 9280 pulleys. The sheer number of parts combined with a high level of precision almost got the better of me, but served to dramatically increase both the fluidity and variability. The combined amplitude is greater than the diameter, resulting in a continuous wavescape of steep contours and smooth curves. The forms are mathematically complex, full of unexpected saddles and peaks. At the same time its sensuousness reminds me of traditional figure drawing: I keep wanting to get a pad of paper and spend time studying each pose it takes.

You can see it in motion in this video:

Rearming the Spineless Opuntia by Amy Youngs

About the project:

The plant inside this device is both interactive with people and protected from them. Its metal armor closes up when approached and opens when people move away from it. Through cloning and micropropagation technologies, humankind has engineered creations such as the Spineless Opuntia, a cactus that lacks its original defense mechanism against those who eat them. This sculpture embodies my impulse to protect this vulnerable, human-engineered creation. But it also reveals the folly of protection in its heavy reliance on technology.

Una Lumino by Choe U-Ram is a kinetic sculpture with mechanical flowers that light up and bloom in mesmerizing patterns. You can see it in motion in this video: 

Kinetic sculptures by David C. Roy 

Roy on his work:

Mechanics and motion have always fascinated me. During college I studied physics, engineering and chemistry to further my understanding of how things worked. I graduated with a degree in physics from Boston University in 1974. This intuitive understanding of motion and mechanics combined with the artistic influences of my wife, Marji, led me to the creation of kinetic sculptures.

His work really needs to be seen in motion to be appreciated:

Kinetic Rain by ART + COM is a moving installation piece at Singapore Changi Airport.

About the project:

In the course of refurbishment works ART+COM was commissioned to create a signature art installation for the Departure-Check-in hall of Terminal 1 at Singapore Airport. Kinetic Rain is composed of two parts, each consisting of 608 rain droplets made of lightweight aluminum covered with copper. Suspended from thin steel ropes above the two opposing escalators, each droplet is moved precisely and seemingly floating by a computer-controlled motor hidden in the halls ceiling. The drops follow a 15-minute, computationally designed choreography where the two parts move together in unison, sometimes mirroring, sometimes complementing, and sometimes responding to each other.

Watch it in all its mesmerizing motion:

Shylight by Design Drift is a series of lamps that bloom.

About the project:

Shylight is a light hidden in a cocoon. It is based on the natural process by which flowers attract and repel pollen-gathering bees. It falls out of its ëcocoon’, opens its petaals and floats down to show all its splendor. At the slightest danger Shylight flips up and retreats into its shell.

You can see it in all its kinetic splendor in this video:

Charybdis by William Pye is an installation with a spinning vortex that can be observed from multiple levels.

About the piece:

The sirens Charybdis and Scylla resided in the Sicilian Sea. Homer tells us that because Charybdis had stolen the oxen of Hercules, Zeus struck her with a thunderbolt and changed her into a whirlpool whose vortex swallowed up ships. In Charybdis the circular movement of water inside a transparent acrylic cylinder forms an air-core vortex in the centre. Steps wrap around the cylinder and allow spectators to view the vortex from above. 

How it works:

An air-core vortex is generated within a circular dish. Water rises and falls within the dish in a cyclic program of water activity. When the system is full and flowing over the perimeter and down the sides, the top surface is comparatively flat and smooth, only broken by the vortex in the middle. However, as the level drops, the body of water seems to take on a life of its own, increasingly rocking and swaying as its volume diminishes unaided by any outside force.

Architect’s Eye is a moving sculpture by Moscow-based architecture firm SPeeCH Tchoban & Kuznetsov.

About the project:

The high-tech sculpture, called Architect’s Eye, is a smooth and reflective spherical structure emulating the human eyeball as its focus shifts from the sky to the ground to the rest of its surrounding area, with the pupils effectively dilating and contracting. The iris of the eye also has the mesmerizing ability to change color…The sculpture is ultimately meant to symbolize an architect’s most valuable organs (eyes) and the ability to discern visual designs throughout history and all walks of life around us.

Quayola and Memo Akten have collaborated to create a multiscreen digital artwork for the exhibition In the Blink of an Eye: Media and Movement, which is part of the Cultural Olympiad programme. Taking the raw data collected from athletes in motion, they have created beautiful and complex moving abstractions that seem to capture the very essence of their power and grace. This generative animation and interactive installation will display at the Museum from 9 March – 2 September.

About the project:

Forms is a series of studies on human motion, and its reverberations through space and time. It is inspired by the works of Eadweard Muybridge, Harold Edgerton, Étienne-Jules Marey as well as similarly inspired modernist cubist works such as Marcel Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase No.2″. Rather than focusing on observable trajectories, it explores techniques of extrapolation to sculpt abstract forms, visualizing unseen relationships – power, balance, grace and conflict – between the body and its surroundings. The project investigates athletes; pushing their bodies to their extreme capabilities, their movements shaped by an evolutionary process targeting a winning performance. Traditionally a form of entertainment in todays society with an overpowering competitive edge, the disciplines are deconstructed and interrogated from an exclusively mechanical and aesthetic point of view; concentrating on the invisible forces generated by and influencing the movement. The source for the study is footage from the Commonwealth Games. The process of transformation from live footage to abstract forms is exposed as part of the interactive multi-screen artwork, to provide insight into the evolution of the specially crafted world in which the athletes were placed.

Since this is a project all about movement, it can’t really be fully appreciated until seen in motion:

Forms (Excerpt) from Nexus Productions on Vimeo.

Wave of Matter by the design duo Tommi Grönlund and Petteri Nisunen is a kinetic art piece that sends thousands of ball bearings cascading across a mechanical table that tips from side to side. It was a hit at the recent Armory Show in New York where visitors were mesmerized by the fluid motion of the balls and the soothing wave-like sounds they generated. 

This piece is a continuation of Grönlund-Nisunen’s exploration of the visualization of motion, energy and space. They have been working together since 1993 in the fields of architecture, art and music. 

Leo Villareal does amazing light sculptures that pulse and flash in hypnotic patterns. According to New York Times reviewer Ken Johnson “There should be benches. You just want to sit and gaze in blissful stupefaction at Volume” (pictured top).

There’s more to his work than just pretty flashing lights. He described his process to CNET News:

"My work is focused on stripping systems down to their essence to better understand the underlying structures and rules that govern how they work," Villareal told CNET News. "I am interested in lowest common denominators such as pixels or the zeros and ones in binary code. Starting at the beginning, using the simplest forms, I begin to build elements within a framework. My work explores not only on the physical but adds the dimension of time combining both spatial and temporal resolution. My forms move, change, interact and ultimately grow into complex organisms.

'Inspired by mathematician John Conway's work with cellular automata and the Game of Life, I seek to create my own sets of rules,” he continued. “Central to my work is the element of chance. The goal is to create a rich environment in which emergent behavior can occur without a preconceived outcome. I am an active participant, serving as editor in the process through careful selection of compelling sequences.”

To really appreciate his work you need to see it in motion. Here are videos of the pieces pictured above:

Cylinder, 2011 from Leo Villareal on Vimeo.

National Gallery of Art, Washington DC HD from Leo Villareal on Vimeo.

Emoter is a kinetic sculpture by Tim Hawkinson. Still images don’t really do it justice, so here’s a video of it in motion along with Hawkinson describing his piece:

Ned Kahn is no ordinary artist. Instead of just sculpting with ordinary materials, he prefers to harness the forces of nature.

From his bio:

Happening across his work can be a stupefying experience, as it was for this author, since typically invisible or unobservable forces are felt as immediate, bodily experiences, as natural effects, which are only later discovered to have been artificially constructed. The planet’s complex, random and aleatory perturbations become manifested visually, tactilely and acoustically in his work. At times he re-creates environmental conditions in controlled settings, and at other times, he lets nature animate his works. Across the breadth of his work, the artist expertly choreographs natural phenomena – a skill more often attributed to gods or supernatural entities than to humans. For example, in the Babylonian Creation Myth, Marduk defeats Tiamat by forcing wind into her belly; other examples include Ehecatl, the Aztec god of wind and the Lakota Creation Myth.1 Kahn combines science, art and technology to integrate natural, human, and artificial systems, and his specific works emphasise natural elements, such as water, fire, wind and sand; how these behave independently, and how they interact.