kinetic sculpture

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Art

Meditating Machinery: Mechanical Buddhas and Other Religious Icons by Wang Zi Won

March 1, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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South Korean artist Wang Zi Won constructs intricate mechanical figures of Buddha and bodhisattva that appear to be lost in meditation or enlightenment. The electrically-powered figures are fused with numerous mechanical components which at times resemble halos or lotus flowers and simultaneously move the humanoid figures through repetitive motions (see videos above). The artist says his intention is to examine a future where humans and technology merge, something he views in a particularly positive light. Via Shin Seung-ho of Dukwon Gallery:

The artist predicts that in the future humans will evolve and adapt themselves to enhanced science and technology just as men and animals in the past evolved to adapt themselves to their natural circumstances. He sees this future as our destiny, not as a negative, gloomy dystopia. His work is thus based on neither utopia not dystopia. Wang represents the relations between man, technology and science through the bodies of cyborgs.

The artist considers it important to escape from human bondage in order to achieve harmony between men and machines. He thinks this harmony can be achieved through the process of religious practices and spiritual enlightenment. In Buddhism, the Bodhisattva of Compassion helps people attain enlightenment, Arhat is a spiritual practitioner of asceticism, and Buddha is a being who reaches the highest level of enlightenment. Through them, the artist intends to follow the path of enlightenment, breaking away from anxiety, agony, and pain. The artist has no intention to emphasize religious connotations through these Buddhist icons but to reflect his own or our own existence between utopia and dystopia.

While it may be difficult to grapple with the artists intentions I find the figures and their motions to be really quite beautiful and indeed meditative, somewhat reminiscent of the robots used in Chris Cunningham’s amazing All is Full of Love video for Bjork. If you have some patience (the site loads quite slowly) there are many more examples of Wang’s work and several more videos over on his blog and you can learn more at Art Nova and Hanmi Gallery.

 

 



Art

Edison’s Cradle? A Kinetic Toy Reinvented with Light

August 5, 2012

Christopher Jobson

As part of his senior thesis exhibition at Musashino Art University in Tokyo, art student Yasutoki Kariya re-imagined the ubiquitous desktop gadget, Newton’s Cradle, using a lovely sequence of light bulbs. Entitled Asobi (which translates roughly as “playing“) the 11-bulb installation creates a visual interpretation of the popular toy named after Sir Isaac Newton demonstrating his third law of motion regarding momentum: that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. However, instead of actual energy created by the kinetic force of steel balls, Kariya devised a method for using programmed light and two surreptitiously placed pistons to create this purely visual experience that’s arguably more mesmerizing than the original concept.

As an added super bonus, the team over at the Experiments in Motion blog created the animation above which easily contends for one of the most beautiful animated gifs I’ve ever seen, already racking up over 167,000 shares on Tumblr this weekend.

Asobi was nominated for the 2012 Mitsubishi Junior Designer Award. (via spoon & tamago)

 

 



Art

Kinetic Rain: 1,216 Computationally Controlled Bronze Raindrops at Changi Airport in Singapore

July 4, 2012

Christopher Jobson

Berlin firm ART+COM just completed this stunning new kinetic sculpture in Terminal 1 of Changi Airport in Singapore. Kinetic Rain consists of two sets of 608 suspended raindrops made from lightweight aluminum covered in copper which are raised and lowered in a 15-minute computationally designed choreography controlled from motors embedded in the ceiling. ART+COM created a similar though somewhat smaller piece for the BMW Museum in 2008.

 

 



Art

The Page Turner: A New Rube Goldberg Machine from Joseph Herscher

January 9, 2012

Christopher Jobson

The Page Turner is the latest device from New York born, New Zealand raised, and Brooklyn-based kinetic artist Joseph Herscher who builds elaborate Rube Goldberg machines that use complex chain reactions to complete mundane tasks. Some of Herscher’s effects here are subtle in their brilliance. He often creates small loops where his devices refer back to earlier steps, for instance the final state of step 25 is also used again as part of step 30. You can see more videos of his ingenious work here. (via automata, junk culture)

 

 



Art

A Wooden Automata by Levi van Veluw

January 4, 2012

Christopher Jobson

I’ve always enjoyed the work of Netherlands-based artist Levi van Veluw, and this wonderful new Automata is no exception. The piece is made almost entirely of wood and is powered by 100 gears embedded in the base. (via faith is torment)

 

 



Craft Documentary

Wonder Object: Playful Mechanized Objects by Gary Schott

November 3, 2011

Christopher Jobson

I was unexpectedly delighted by this documentary short on jeweler, artist, and metalsmith Gary Schott who creates these small kinetic sculptures that produce tiny, intimate gestures. The attention to detail in each piece is astounding, from the early detailed sketches and balsa wood models, to the selection of materials, and even the color of fabric—all to create a tiny device, the sole purpose of which is to gently evoke a smile, to express, in the words of the artist, an action of love. The wonderfully produced video was shot and edited by husband and wife filmmakers Mark and Angela Walley of Walley Films out of San Antonio, Texas. (via junk culture)