“There’s a lot of trig”
May 26, 2011 9:53 PM   Subscribe

Reuben Heyday Margolin is an artist who designs kinetic sculptures. His most ambitious work to date is The Nebula, 11,000 pounds of moving sculpture suspended 140’ in the air. Wired has a short, navigable movie on its design, construction and installation. (30 secs of advertising beforehand). Margolin’s art has also been powered by the human body in modern dance. posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul (7 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
It's a lot of trig.
posted by Mblue at 11:02 PM on May 26, 2011

Wow. Thanks for posting that. That was seriously fascinating. The artist, however, was rather a pleasant (cough) distraction to his art.
posted by Goofyy at 3:38 AM on May 27, 2011

I saw this guy on Make:TV like 2 or 3 years ago. I'm glad he's getting more recognition.
posted by DU at 5:47 AM on May 27, 2011

Parts 3 and 4 of the video series aren't available?

There's a video of the completed piece on Margolin's site. I wonder why the last two videos aren't available on the Wired site.
posted by MsVader at 6:51 AM on May 27, 2011

Great post, great art. I'd seen the PBS documentary about him, so I recognized that wooden wave machine you see in his studio.

I know it's all because of the way I was raised, but a bit of my heart went out to the people who will have to clean and maintain the sculpture once it was done.

It also got my inner math nerd pondering. In the abstract, the motion is just purely sinusoidal, simply periodic. A look at the drive mechanism shows that. Each node is assigned a phase shift based on the length of the wire connecting it to the drive. I can't see that the knitting together produces something more complicated.

In the intro he showed a swirling flock of birds. They cluster together at different, unpredictable(?) places, and have more of a feel of randomness. I wonder if there's any way to re-create that effect in sculpture?
posted by benito.strauss at 7:12 AM on May 27, 2011

...the motion is just purely sinusoidal, simply periodic. I can't see that the knitting together produces something more complicated.

The sound coming out of your speakers is composed of purely sinusoidal waves too, but that has no trouble being complicated. See: Fourier
posted by DU at 8:16 AM on May 27, 2011

Oh, I meant

... the motion is just purely a single sinusoidal ...

i.e. Fourier Transform is a delta function.

Can you see multiple frequencies in its motion? I didn't search too hard, but I just saw one big drive wheel. If there were an epicyclic wheel at the end we could get something funky going on.

I checked his site and he talks about pulleys up in the weave area. I don't know if they're fixed or moving. Maybe moving pulleys could create new frequencies?

While checking his site I came across his description of planning the weave. Yeah, trig, but also 3-d modeling in Blender, Python scripting, Excel spreadsheets, and Monte Carlo simulations. And none of that is visible in the final installation.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:44 AM on May 27, 2011

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