As artist John Edmark's sculptures wiggle, wobble, and twist before your eyes like some alien creature, it’s hard to believe that what you’re seeing is a real physical object—but we assure you it is, with a bit of trick photography and some heady mathematics thrown in for good measure. Blooms 2 (a year in the making) is the latest collection of wild strobe-animated sculptures that begin life as computer programs written in Python before being 3D printed and set in motion on a table, but the patterns you see are created, in a sense, by nature itself.
“Blooms are based on the same geometry nature uses in many plant forms, including artichokes, sunflowers, and pinecones, all of which share the same underlying mathematical pattern,” Edmark shares with Colossal. He explains in more detail how each sculpture is designed:
Blooms are 3-D printed sculptures designed to animate when spun under a strobe light. Unlike a 3D zoetrope, which animates a sequence of small changes to objects, a bloom animates as a single self-contained sculpture. The bloom’s animation effect is achieved by progressive rotations of the golden ratio, phi (ϕ), the same ratio that nature employs to generate the spiral patterns we see in pinecones and sunflowers. The rotational speed and strobe rate of the bloom are synchronized so that one flash occurs every time the bloom turns 137.5º (the angular version of phi).
While the strobe is necessary to witness the animation when viewing these pieces in person, for the sake of creating this video filmmaker Charlie Nordstrom set the camera to a short shutter speed that freezes individual “frames” of the spinning sculpture.
Many of Edmark’s pieces are now in galleries and permanent museum collections around the world. You can see several of his sculptures right now at the Exploratorium in San Francisco and the Technorama in Winterthur, Switzerland. You can also see some of his first designs in his original Blooms video, and for what it’s worth, we also carry his amazing Helicone sculpture in the Colossal Shop.
Media artist Akinori Goto (previously) just shared another version of his kinetic light sculpture depicting a series of animated dancing figures. The framework of the sculpture is 3D printed from data of silhouettes traced from an actual dancer, creating a sort of modern-day rotoscoping effect. When illuminated with a bright light, a cross-section of the sculpture is revealed. Goto hopes to soon obtain a patent for the device. (via Prosthetic Knowledge)
Designer and founder of Misawa Design Institute, Haruka Misawa (previously), has designed a series of minimal aquariums titled “Waterscapes” that include 3D printed objects inspired by undersea plant life. These works mimic coral and other aquatic flora that small fish use as hiding places, yet are all manufactured digitally. The objects are ones that would normal topple or crumble because of their own weight, yet because of their underwater location are able to exist as buoyant additions to the aesthetically pleasing fish homes.
Within the series Misawa has also designed bubbles of air within the aquariums that allow plants to thrive at the center of her creations. These meta environments appear like miniature fish bowls within larger aquariums, with plants floating at the top of the inner enclosures. These works were displayed recently in Taiwan in an exhibition titled “Waterscape” and you can see them in action in the video below. (via Design Milk)
Using a clever mix of 3D printing and a few well-placed shadows, this sundial designed by Mojoptix projects the actual time as if displayed on a digital clock. The plastic component that casts the shadow—called a gnomon— is printed with extremely tiny holes that create pinpoint dots of light in the form of digits as the sun shines through during the day.
The sundial does have its limitations. The time only shows in 20 minute increments and it only works from 10am to 4pm during the day. Regardless, the results are no less miraculous when you see it in use in the video below (skip to around 13:00 to see it in motion).
Bouncing rhythmically to a deep beat, Studio van Broekhoven’s 3D printer produces ceramic vessels scored by sound. The objects spins as clay is applied in response to the amplified noise, forging visual markings into the clay by way of audio wavelengths. The project, “Solid Vibration” was produced by spatial sound designer Ricky van Broekhoven and designer Olivier van Herpt, who have been co-producing the objects that appear almost like woven baskets.
The project developed out of the collaborators’ combined wish to host Broekhoven’s “noisescapes” as solidified objects that could physically represent his abstract tones. For each of the vessels, a specially constructed speaker rig is mounted below the printing platform to emit a low sound that will influence the printing. “A moment in time, a song, a sound, they can now become objects that encapsulate the moment forever,” explains van Herpt’s website.