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.
I’m digging this kinetic sculpture by Swiss artist Markus Raetz (previously) that creates the illusion of a rotating head using a series of silhouettes cut from metal panels. Most of Raetz’s work involves aspects of perception and illusion, more of which you can see here. (via Sploid)
The Creator’s Project recently visited with kinetic sculptor Anthony Howe who creates kinetic artworks powered by wind. You might remember Howe from a piece here on Colossal back in July. Watch the video above to learn more about his artistic philosophy and watch some excellent footage of his hypnotic sculptures.
For the last decade, self-confessed tinkerer and “organic mechanic” Blair Somerville has owned and operated the Lost Gypsy Gallery, a sprawling menagerie of kinetic sculptures, automata, and electronic doohickies. Located in in a remote corner of New Zealand’s South Island, the gallery has become Somerville’s life work, a testament to artistic ingenuity, and an offbeat tourist attraction where visitors can experience first-hand his interactive “Fine Acts of Junk”.
Filmmaker Joey Bania takes us inside this enchanting yet totally bizarre wonderland in his new documentary short Lost & Found, funded in part by BBC Worldwide Young Producers’ grant. NSFW-ish language here and there.