Working out of his one-man workshop inside a mid-19th century barn, artist Bob Potts (previously) builds wonderous kinetic sculptures that replicate the motions of birds, fish, or other natural motions. The 72-year-old artist utilizes hand-crafted gears, levers, cranks, and chains to create these minimalist pieces that are focused solely on motion rather than ornamentation. Each piece can consume nearly a year’s worth of labor in his upstate New York shop where he works without the aid of computer, instead relying on decades of carpentry and skills learned while collaborating with painter and sculptor George Rhoads.
You can learn much more about his work over at M.A.D.Gallery. The videos above were shot and edited by Bryan Root from Motherlode Pictures.
Kinetic sculptor Anthony Howe (previously) has created a number of new kinetic artworks since we featured his work here last year. The artist works with specialized software to first mockup each piece digitally before fabricating the individual components from metal. The motion you see is generated completely by the wind, with even the slightest breeze setting the dozens of rotating components in action. You can see more of his recent work on his YouTube channel.
Partially inspired by Erik Åberg’s interlocking kinetic cube system Ghostcubes, Brasil-based origami artist Jo Nakashima created a method for building a similar object using a system of 40 paper cubes. For those of you ambitious enough to give it a try he shared a set of instructions on Instructables. Just 45 steps!
If you’ve ever been to a science museum or taken a physics class, you’ve probably encountered an example of a pendulum wave. This video shows a large-scale pendulum wave contraption built on private property in the mountains of North Carolina, near Burnsville. The mechanism relies on 16 precisely hung bowling balls on a wooden frame that swing in hypnotic patterns for a cycle of about 2 minute and 40 seconds. Via Maria Ikenberry who filmed the clip:
The length of time it takes a ball to swing back and forth one time to return to its starting position is dependent on the length of the pendulum, not the mass of the ball. A longer pendulum will take longer to complete one cycle than a shorter pendulum. The lengths of the pendula in this demonstration are all different and were calculated so that in about 2:40, the balls all return to the same position at the same time – in that 2:40, the longest pendulum (in front) will oscillate (or go back and forth) 50 times, the next will oscillate 51 times, and on to the last of the 16 pendula which will oscillate 65 times.
Because the piece is outdoors, a number of factors prevent the balls from precisely lining up at the end, but it’s still easy to get the idea. In a perfectly controlled environment you get something like this.
Update: The pendulum was built by Appalachian State University teacher and artist Jeff Goodman.
Parade is an interactive art installation concevied by ceramacist Laurent Craste and digital agency Dpt. for the Chromatic festival in Montreal. At first glance the piece looks rather mundane: two misshapen porcelain vases sit atop a pedestal inside a wood cube, lit from above by an industrial light. But move the light and suddenly the magic happens as shadows projected from the vases animate to life. What a fun piece.
Update: Of course things like this are never as simple as they appear. Dpt. explains further that the animated “shadows” are coming from a hidden projector which tracks the movements of the faux light source. We’ve been tricked! But I suppose that’s kind of the point.
Artist Juan Fontanive (previously) constructs perpetually looping flip book machines that depict flying birds lifted from audubon guides and illustrations of butterflies. Part film and part sculpture, almost every aspect of the flip books are assembled by hand from the minutely toothed gears, clips, nuts, bolts, wormwheels and sprockets to the carefully screen printed imagery. Of the curious devices Gild Williams remarked, “Fontanive’s artworks seem strangely possessed, producing curiously moving animals that are neither living nor dead, or creating ghostly systems which seem to float mid-air and follow a pace and logic of their own.” You can see much more of his work over at Riflemaker.
Artist Theo Jansen has created several 3D printed models of his famous walking sculptures called Strandbeests. There are currently four different models and two alternate propeller attachments for added Strandbeest goodness. Available over at Shapeways.