kinetic sculpture

Posts tagged
with kinetic sculpture



Design

Sisyphus Eternally Pushes a Boulder Up a Mechanical Incline in Ross McSweeney’s Nimble Automata

January 20, 2023

Kate Mothes

A kinetic sculpture made from laser-cut wood of Sisyphus pushing a rock up a hill with Hades turning mechanical gears underneath.

All images © Ross McSweeney

More than one version of the Greek myth of Sisyphus chronicles the king’s slew of misdeeds on Earth, which amount to cheating death not once but twice. This earned him an infamous punishment from Hades, the god of death and ruler of the underworld, who sentenced the legendary figure to roll a boulder up the side of a mountain only for it to roll back down again as soon as it nears the top—for eternity. Glimpsing the mythical inner machinations, artist Ross McSweeney designed an intricately detailed, laser-cut wood automata that animates the classic tale.

McSweeney’s kinetic sculpture features a laboring Sisyphus pushing the stone up an incline as he is eyed by a (perpetually patient!) vulture. Beneath the surface, a cross-section of classical columns reveals a devilish figure who cranks an elaborate set of gears. The device is operated by turning a dial on the lower right side, and McSweeney demonstrates the mechanism in a video in which he also showcases different operating speeds.

The artist designed additional do-it-yourself kinetic constructions of a tiger, a running horse, and the surface of water that undulates with droplet rings. McSweeney shares videos of the automata on YouTube, and you can find detailed patterns to construct your own sculpture—which he takes great care to avoid being a Sisyphean task!—in his Etsy shop. (via Laughing Squid)

 

A kinetic sculpture made from laser-cut wood of Sisyphus pushing a rock up a hill with Hades turning mechanical gears underneath.

A kinetic sculpture made from laser-cut wood of Sisyphus pushing a rock up a hill with Hades turning mechanical gears underneath.

A kinetic sculpture made from laser-cut wood of Sisyphus pushing a rock up a hill with Hades turning mechanical gears underneath.

A kinetic sculpture made from laser-cut wood of Sisyphus pushing a rock up a hill with Hades turning mechanical gears underneath.

A kinetic sculpture made from laser-cut wood of Sisyphus pushing a rock up a hill with Hades turning mechanical gears underneath.

A kinetic sculpture made from laser-cut wood of Sisyphus pushing a rock up a hill with Hades turning mechanical gears underneath.

 

 

advertisement



Art

Wooden Pixels Dissipate from Han Hsu-Tung’s Fragmented Figurative Sculptures

November 8, 2022

Grace Ebert

A photo of a pixelated wooden sculpture of a man on a horse

“Hussar” (2022), mixed wood, 71 x 81 x 26 centimeters. All images © Han Hsu-Tung, shared with permission

Digital and analog realms collide in the dynamic sculptures of Taiwanese artist Han Hsu-Tung (previously). Using soft western redcedar or Laotian fir, Han carves wooden animals and figures that are whisked into pixels, which appear to dissolve and float away from the central form. One of his most recent works, the stately warrior-like “Shaolin,” also features a kinetic component that shifts the blocks in jarring, horizontal movements. Taking approximately three to four months to complete, each work blends a computerized vision with the traditional medium as it draws attention to the scattered nature of the virtual world and how individual elements are essential to the whole.

Explore more of Han’s fragmented sculptures on his site and Instagram.

 

A photo of a pixelated wooden sculpture of a man

“Sunset Clouds” (2022), mixed wood, 57 x 43 x 14 centimeters

A photo of a pixelated wooden sculpture of a man

“Shaolin” (2020), western redcedar, 130 x 78 x 40 centimeters

A photo of a pixelated wooden sculpture of a man on a horse

Detail of “Hussar” (2022), mixed wood, 71 x 81 x 26 centimeters

A photo of a pixelated wooden sculpture of a rooster

“The Dawn” (2021), western redcedar, 101 x 77 x 40 centimeters

A photo of a pixelated wooden sculpture of a rooster

Detail of “The Dawn” (2021), western redcedar, 101 x 77 x 40 centimeters

A photo of a pixelated wooden sculpture of a man

“The Pacific” (2020), western redcedar and Laotian fir, 180 x 150 x 84 centimeters

A photo of a pixelated wooden sculpture of a man

Detail of “Sunset Clouds” (2022), mixed wood, 57 x 43 x 14 centimeters

.

 

 



Art Craft

Papier-Mâché Creatures Inhabit a Whimsical World in Penny Thomson’s Kinetic Sculptures

October 28, 2022

Kate Mothes

A host of wild creatures inhabit the whimsical world of artist Penny Thomson (previously), who creates intricate, kinetic sculptures that fit in the palm of your hand. Joined in her Derbyshire studio by her daughter Briony, she works primarily with papier-mâché, which she began experimenting with when her children were still young. “Using pulp, laminated and household waste paper, and cardboard, I made a seven-foot giraffe and conducted a workshop in my son’s school, which involved all the pupils in making a 14-foot Diplodocus,” she says.

Since then, Thomson’s creations have scaled down quite a bit, but her interest in working with paper and recycled materials continues. After creating a diorama for illusionist Sam Drake’s House of Magic, she became fascinated with automata and combined skills she acquired over her career to develop the mechanical miniatures. Briony adds, “That is why we say that a batch of two or three kinetic sculptures usually take between one week and 40 years to make!” Each expressive, miniature figure incorporates a mechanism with a small handle that sets it in motion, giving life to hungry chicks, impatient zebras, and joyous penguins.

Thomson regularly releases small batches of sculptures in her Etsy shop. They sell quickly, so you can keep up-to-date about new work on Instagram, and see more on her website.

 

All images © Penny Thomson, shared with permission

 

 



Design

A Fluttering Exterior Responds to the Elements in a Kinetic, Open-Air Cabin by NEON

October 21, 2022

Kate Mothes

In the park surrounding Louvre-Lens, which opened in 2012 on a 49-acre former mining site about 125 miles north of Paris, a cabin-shaped installation has fluttered onto the grounds. The kinetic structure designed by Margate, U.K.-based studio NEON, who describe it as an “animal-like” work that responds to natural forces in its environment, has feather-like polycarbonate shingles that respond to wind or precipitation to generate movement. “Shiver House V2″—version one was modeled after a traditional mökki in Finland—is an exploration into the way that architecture can help to build a closer connection between its inhabitants and its surroundings.

“Something that we can do with our work is make people be more present in the moment,” says NEON artist Viliina Koivisto, who along with director Mark Nixon, founded NEON on the premise that architecture, art, and design are not ivory towers and instead intersect with one another in unique ways. “Our projects are often eye-catching, bold, and emotive—and quite fantastical,” Nixon explains.

You can view more of the studio’s work on its website and on Instagram.

 

All images © NEON, shared with permission. Photos by Yves Bercez

 

 



Art

Animated by Wind, Theo Jansen’s ‘Strandbeest’ Sculptures Have Evolved into Flying Creatures

April 18, 2022

Grace Ebert

Each spring, a fledgling creature waddles, wriggles, or slithers across a Dutch beach. The sculptural animals are known as Strandbeests and are part of a growing menagerie by artist Theo Jansen (previously), who’s been constructing large-scale, kinetic beings powered entirely by the wind since 1990. Jansen unleashes the skeletal works—which weigh around 180 kilograms and use 2,000 to 3,000 meters of PVC pipe—in the early part of the year and uses the summer months to tweak their function so that they better withstand the sand, water, and other elements. By fall, the creatures have fully developed and scurry across the beach with quick, sometimes undulating motion.

Jansen recently compiled a collection of his works in the video above, which chronicles the Strandbeest evolution during the past few years. The montage encapsulates earlier forms carrying massive sails, caterpillar-like critters, and now, winged creatures that fly feet above the ground and is evidence of the artist’s decades-long dedication to developing the lifelike works.

A survey of Jansen’s Strandbeests runs through July 3 at Kuntsmuseum Den Haag, and Hannibal Books released a catalog to coincide with the exhibition. Explore more of the artist’s practice and elaborately built animal kingdom on his site and YouTube.

 

“Animaris Umerus, Scheveningen” (2009). Photo by Loek van der Klis

“Animaris Percipiere Rectus, IJmuiden” (2005). Photo by Loek van der Klis

“Animaris Mulus, Silent Beach” (The Hague, 2018)

“Animaris Omnia, Silent Beach” (The Hague, 2019)

“Uros Kirn Ader, Noorderstrand Scheveningen” (2021)

 

 



Craft Design

Dive Into the Process Behind Crafting a Kinetic Humpback Whale That Swims with a Hand-Crank

April 13, 2022

Grace Ebert

Floating atop swirls of whimsically cut wooden waves, a miniature humpback springs to life with the help of a simple hand-crank. The kinetic whale is part of a growing marine menagerie designed by Sylvain Gautier, who whittles and assembles the mechanical sculptures from his workshop near Toulouse. This particular creature is carved from basswood, with a walnut frame and acacia base, and is named “Wooden Migaloo,” “after the albino humpback whale often seen on the coasts of Australia,” he writes. Get a glimpse at Gautier’s process in the short making-of video above, and head to YouTube for more of his aquatic automata. (via The Kids Should See This)