kinetic

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Craft

Creatures Fly and Swim through Lush Ecosystems in Kinetic Miniatures by Penny Thomson

August 27, 2021

Grace Ebert

Fish writhing through the ocean, colorful butterflies taking flight, and owls leaving their perch are a few of the creatures featured in Penny Thomson’s miniature ecosystems. The Sheffield-born artist deftly captures marine and land animals’ movement in her kinetic sculptures that operate with simple hand-cranks. Coated in moss, sprawling branches, and other foliage, the whimsical works are tiny renditions of their real-life counterparts. Thomson offers the lively creations on Etsy, but they sell out quickly so watch for shop announcements on her Instagram to snag one.

 

 

 



Design

Earthrise: A Striking New Collection by Iris Van Herpen Recycles Plastic Waste into Sculptural Garments

July 6, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Iris Van Herpen, shared with permission

Iris Van Herpen (previously) continues to blend fashion and science in her latest collection of dizzying garments that explore the fragility of marine ecosystems. Earthrise, which debuted at Paris Haute Couture Week on July 5, is comprised of 19 gowns teeming with the Dutch designer’s signature layers and structural flourishes. Exquisite and elaborately constructed, the garments seamlessly merge aquatic motifs and colors into a dynamic collection focused on preserving the environment in both aesthetic and material.

Five of the designs, including the hand-cut gradient dress shown below, are made entirely of recycled plastics sourced from Parley for the Oceans (previously), which is working to protect the planet’s bodies of water from pollution and further degradation. Other pieces in the collection are the product of collaborations with artists like Rogan Brown (previously), who brought his laser-cut reliefs resembling coral reefs and microbial structures to the lace-like gowns, while Casey Curran (previously) produced kinetic stripes that ripple across one dress in a mesmerizing blue-to-white gradient. Artist James Merry (previously) is responsible for the futuristic metal jewelry, while Eichi Matsunaga created the long, bulbous nails designs.

Van Herpen shares more of the meteorological and biology-based designs on her Instagram, and you also might enjoy Phillip Lim and Charlotte McCurdy’s algae sequins.

 

 

 



Art

A Circle of Light Beams Undulates in an Interactive Kinetic Installation by Scale Collective

April 7, 2021

Grace Ebert

An undulating kinetic artwork by Scale Collective blends organic movement and architectural forms in a mesmerizing installation. Created for the Constellations Festival in Metz, France, “Flux” is comprised of 48 beams of light that stretch 1.5-meters-long and are spaced 40 centimeters apart. Each is connected to a single mechanism that’s motorized and controlled by viewers through an interface, allowing for a synchronized performance of twisting and coiling patterns. “The formal multiplication of these lines coupled with micro variations of phases, time delays, speeds, and amplitudes allows us to sculpt an object 20 meters long, alive and evolving with a cyclical back and forth movement,” the French collective says. See more of the group’s dynamic projects on its site, Vimeo, and Instagram. (via Core 77)

 

All images via Scale Collective

 

 



Art

Dialogo: A Frenzied Short Film Translates Indiscernible Audio into Kinetic Sound Sculptures

December 28, 2020

Grace Ebert

Juxtaposing natural elements and mechanics, “Dialogo” harnesses the frenetic, indiscernible components of language into a synesthetic experience. A mix of stop-motion and live-action, the short film features entirely hand-crafted sculptures by the Madrid-based design studio blo que. Each motorized work translates human utterings into movement, whether through an undulating tube of neon or oscillating florals, generating new associations in a conversation between the senses.

To represent the original audio in a visual manner, blo que converts the speech waveforms into animation curves, which subsequently mobilizes the sculpture’s engines. “This is the voice of nature and order or the control of what cannot be controlled,” the studio says. “The passing of time in nature (freezing, rotting, etc.) is connected to the time of sound reproduction. This bond creates relationships between human emotions, language, and nature.”

blo que details the lengthy creation process for the film on its site, and you can follow future projects that merge the tangible and digital on Vimeo and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Sound Artist Zimoun Channels Frenetic Movement in Expansive Kinetic Sculptures and Installations

November 6, 2020

Grace Ebert

Swiss sound artist Zimoun (previously) harnesses the power of quick, chaotic movements in his large-scale installations and kinetic sculptures. Each artwork is composed of simple materials like cardboard boxes, wooden dowels, and cotton balls, among other common objects. Zimoun assembles multiples of the same configuration—think teetering sticks and metal washers suspended on a wire—and motorizes one portion, causing them to rattle back and forth.

Because each component is made by hand, they have slight differences that prevent them from synchronizing, despite all the motors being connected to a single current. The frenzied movements contrast the calming, whirring sounds the artworks emit, which mimic raindrops or a repetitive drum. This juxtaposition is just one example of the many comparisons the artist draws: chaos vs. order, mass vs. individual, simplicity vs. complexity, and manufactured vs. organic.

Considering this theme, Zimoun names each piece by listing the materials used to connect the discrete components and the whole. For example, a recent project that forms a square on the floor (shown below) is titled “1944 prepared dc-motors, mdf panels 72 x 72cm, metal discs Ø 8cm, 2020.” “In my work, I do not try to transport specific associations but rather to create atmospheric spaces and states that invite us to observe, think, and reflect on various levels,” he says.

In the compilation video above, Zimoun showcases a variety of the sculptures and installations from his extensive body of work, many of which you can explore individually on Vimeo and follow on Instagram.

 

“1944 prepared dc-motors, mdf panels 72 x 72cm, metal discs Ø 8cm, 2020.” All images © Zimoun, shared with permission

“1944 prepared dc-motors, mdf panels 72 x 72cm, metal discs Ø 8cm, 2020”

 

 



Art

Illuminated Wire Sculptures Nest Inside Larger Kinetic Works by Artist Spenser Little

August 14, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Spenser Little, shared with permission

Known for his figurative wire pieces attached to light posts and other public fixtures around the world, Spenser Little’s recent artworks venture into the personal. Illumination Devices is comprised of the artist’s bent portraits and totems of merging faces, in addition to a series of irradiated kinetic sculptures. Evoking the nesting doll, these abstract figures contain spacious chest cavities that open up to reveal similar, smaller forms hidden inside.

For each lamp, Little carves a wooden structure of the main character’s head, welds a metal body, and overlays the components with thin paper “skin,” repeating the process for subsequent pieces. He also seats wooden figures in the deepest caverns. The relationship between the inner and outer sculptures explores the tension between the conscious and subconscious, which the artist explains:

I heard the analogy long ago the we, our active, controlled conscious, are merely riders on a large beast. We think our conscious minds are controlling the subconscious beast, but in reality, the beast goes where it wants revealing our unpolished motives. The outer self wants to project control and precision. The inner self is just trying to keep things working. The lamps are shells around motors.

By physically brightening the artworks, Little uncovers the link between the two sometimes disparate selves. “Art to me is the wordless conversation between us and our inner beast. To communicate with our unenlightened animal impulses is very illuminating to our true selves,” he shares with Colossal.

Little’s nestled sculptures are on view through September 20 at MOAH: CEDAR in California. Take a virtual tour of the show, and check out exactly how the articulate artworks function on the artist’s Instagram. (via Supersonic)

 

 

“Large Orange Lamp” (2020), steel, paper, glue, red heartwood, gears, electric motors, sprockets, bicycle chain link, 40 × 80 × 40 inches

“Inner Defense Mechanism Lamp” (2020), steel, paper, glue, red heart & figurative maple wood, gears, electric motor, carbon-chain link, 30 × 30 × 26 inches

“Identity Roulette, Red Lamp” (2020), steel, paper, glue, purple and red heartwood, electric motor, gears, carbon-chain link, 13 × 28 × 13 inches

“Yellow Glass Urn” (2020), steel, glass, 15 × 13 inches

Left: “Mini Totem Cluster” (2020), one continuous 22 gauge steel wire, 26 × 8 inches. Right: “Birth and Death Deity” (2020), one continuous16 gauge steel wire, 61 × 33

“Copper Multi-Face Design” (2020), one continuous 12 gauge copper wire, 36 × 33 inches

 

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A post shared by Spenser Little (@spenserlittleart) on

 

 

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