Initial inspiration

A project log for fluidity from rigidity

a sinuous kinetic sculpture

sEasEa 04/27/2014 at 05:380 Comments

How did I come up with the idea to do a kinetic sculpture?

I went to LVL1 last night to finish documenting Alien Operation. I can't be there for long without getting interested in the projects other people are working on. Joseph Clagg was talking to Jose Cabrera about making a life-size version of Rock Em Sock Em Robots. Boxing isn't my thing, I said, but Hungry Hungry Hippos was a game that, although I never played, seemed like something I'd enjoy. That piqued their interest. Later I suggested that not all of the players had to be hippos: there could be a dragon, for example, and an alien, with a smaller alien head inside that would come out to eat the marbles.

In thinking about creating something moveable that had an extra layer of complexity to it, I realized I'd prefer to do it as an original project.

I've been interested in gait and locomotion ever since, when I was much younger, I tried to find a word to describe the undulating gait of a spider. I thought about it again recently when I saw a video of a two-legged dog playing at the beach, and how its tail was so crucial not just as a balance and counterweight, but also as a pivot point or rudder at times. It made me wonder what advances have been made in robotic locomotion, which has typically been stiff and unnatural.

Then I remembered the phrase "kinetic sculpture".

I was able to find the video that introduced me to the concept years ago, and to find other inspirational examples. Although I looked through many videos, the ones that drew me most had curving lines and organic motion. Links to my favorites are on the project page.

Now I'm thinking about the components of the sculptures I've looked at and about what feel I'd like to achieve with a project of my own.