We’ve long marveled at artist John Edmark's (previously) kinetic objects that function as a medium to express a variety of mathematical formulas and concepts. The spiral-like sculptures often defy description and even when looking at them it’s hard to understand how they work, something he refers to as “instruments that amplify our awareness of the sometimes tenuous relationship between facts and perception.” The folks at SciFri recently visited with Edmark in his studio to learn more about how he works and to catch a glimpse of some rather unusual sculptures he’s created over the last few years.
Seattle-based artist Casey Curran constructs elaborate kinetic sculptures primarily of brass wire that twist, bloom, flip, or wiggle depending on the subject. Some pieces rely on a motorized mechanism, but most of his artworks function with the help of a single hand crank that brings the piece to life. His latest piece titled “Bequeath these Seeds” was made for the 2016 Bellevue Arts Museum biennial show titled “Metalmorphosis”. Curran shares more of his latest kinetic works—including a kinetic cheetoh man—on Instagram.
Bruce Shapiro (previously) has transformed the tools that create sculpture into the sculpture itself, using CNC machines to produce tables that trace beautiful patterns in thin layers of sand. Shapiro named this kinetic art project Sisyphus, an appropriate title as the metal balls that move through each table’s sand seems to be forever rolling and creating patterns, much like the Greek myth.
Shapiro has been producing the Sisyphus sculptures for almost 20 years, and has permanent installations of his works in Switzerland, Germany, and Australia. Desiring the works to also live in individual homes, he has created a Kickstarter to begin production on three different types of smaller, domestic tables: an end table, three-foot metal coffee table, and a four-foot hardwood coffee table.
“Over time I have come to view Sisyphus as more than a kinetic art piece: it is an instrument,” said Shapiro. “As a musical instrument plays songs, Sisyphus plays paths. My goal with this Kickstarter is to get Sisyphus into people’s homes for them to enjoy as both furniture and art, but also, to inspire a community of composers to write ‘music’ for it.”
You can view Shaprio’s other artworks, including his projects that utilize computerized motion control, on his website.
Mechanical Horn Centaur Beetle, 2015. 100 x 100 x 150 cm. Jati Wood, Pine Wood, Electric Dynamo.
Indonesian artist Dedy Shofianto creates unusual kinetic sculptures of insect-like creatures by carving almost every component from wood. Though powered by hidden electronics it’s the exquisitely detailed mandibles, wings, antennae, and gears of these hybrid creatures crafted from locally sourced jati (teak) wood that take center stage. It would seem that a lifetime of wood craftsmanship would have been brought to bear on each piece, all the more impressive considering Shofianto created these pieces when he was only 24 years old while still in school—he graduated from the Art Institute of Indonesia just last year. You can see more of his kinetic works at Redbase Contemporary Art.
Evolution, 2015. 120 x 100 x 144 cm. Jati Wood, Pine Wood, Electric Dynamo, Ultrasound System.
Nyanyian Kumbang Tanduk, 2015. 100 x 80 x 150 cm. Jati Wood, Electric Motor, Ultrasonic Sensor.
Seeking Identity, 2015. 70 x 50 x 125 cm. Jati Wood, Gamelina Wood.
Study for Fifteen Points. Motors, custom driver electronics, custom software, aluminium, LEDs, computer. 712 x 552 x 606 mm.
With spindly legs that look like an upturned spider, this experimental kinetic artwork by Random International relies on the viewer to watch from just the right perspective to reveal a hidden secret. Each of the 15 ‘arms’ is tipped with white LEDs that collectively move to mimic the motions of a walking human figure. Titled Study for Fifteen Points, the piece was created to examine the “minimal amount of information that is actually necessary for the animated form to be recognised as human.”
Random International are an artist collective known for their ambitious interactive installations and sculptures that incorporate robotics and data, most notably the wildly popular Rain Room. Study for Fifteen Points is the first foray into a new body of work by the group and we’re excited to see what follows. (via The Creator’s Project)