Mesmerizing!
May 17, 2013 5:42 AM   Subscribe

 
Well, knock me over with (the removal of) a feather!
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:56 AM on May 17, 2013


That was simply astounding - thanks for posting this. I think the bearded guy and I were both holding our breath the entire time.
posted by jquinby at 5:56 AM on May 17, 2013


SICK
posted by fungible at 5:57 AM on May 17, 2013


I thought you meant a mobile phone and I was expecting some unusual DIY engineering.
posted by pracowity at 5:58 AM on May 17, 2013 [15 favorites]


At first glance, I was thinking "How's she gonna build a mobile phone with that crap?"
posted by Optamystic at 5:59 AM on May 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jinx pracowity.
posted by Optamystic at 5:59 AM on May 17, 2013


At first glance, I was thinking "How's she gonna build a mobile phone with that crap?"

What?

I said I made a phone out of a feather and some sticks!

What? I can't hear a word you're saying. Are you in a tunnel?
posted by popcassady at 6:02 AM on May 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


Amazing. Is this part of a greater Japanese art movement or just supremely innovative?
posted by Foci for Analysis at 6:02 AM on May 17, 2013


I'm amazed by her physical skills most of all. I wonder how long it took her to figure out that arrangement of pieces and the balancing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:08 AM on May 17, 2013


Her steady hand and balance were terrific, especially when you add in the stress of the situation. Until she removed the feather, I assumed that the mobile looked more sensitive to placement than it really was. There were points in the video where I thought each piece might be marked or maybe even wrapped with thread.
posted by carmicha at 6:12 AM on May 17, 2013


So, magnets, yeah?

I mean, come on, she's rotating that whole thing around and the sticks are rotating independently of each other! You're not going to tell me that they would stay on the exact right spot and not start sliding without magnets, or at least notches in the wood or something. At least the feather and some of the lighter sticks, the heavier ones can probably get by.
posted by gkhan at 6:14 AM on May 17, 2013


Use metal, and you'd probably get amazing reception on that thing.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:14 AM on May 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


gkhan, the wood is pretty rough in spots, from the closeups, so I assume that friction is what keeps them from sliding. Not that it makes it less impressive, I assume that's what makes it doable.
posted by tavella at 6:19 AM on May 17, 2013


OK, that's pretty blatant act-stealing; I have seen precisely this act done before by some other guy -- I mean exactly the same, right down to the feather trick at the end. And I'm pretty sure I saw it here on the blue. Does anyone else remember this?
posted by ook at 6:22 AM on May 17, 2013 [9 favorites]


Ah, here he is.
posted by ook at 6:25 AM on May 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


This one ook? I was thinking the exact same thing. Preview: yeah, that guy.
posted by procrastination at 6:26 AM on May 17, 2013


I've seen another video of this exact same technique, but it was a different person doing the performance. The shape of the wooden pieces was almost identical; this strikes me as a sort of "carnival trick" (for lack of a better expression). That's not in any way denigrating the act--I'm just saying that it seems like a very clever performance that's been passed on in a fairly small group from whoever was the first to come up with the idea.
posted by Ickster at 6:30 AM on May 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Guess I should've previewed.
posted by Ickster at 6:30 AM on May 17, 2013


ook, all three of the cited performers are from Circus Rigolo, so I assume this is one of their standard acts.
posted by tavella at 6:44 AM on May 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


George's mom would ask her for some advice.
posted by surplus at 6:50 AM on May 17, 2013


Here's a vimeo version of the act featuring Rigolo Swiss Nouveau Cirque artist Maedir Eugster. This is the most impressive of the videos I've seen.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:56 AM on May 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm hoping someone does a comedy version of this.
posted by surplus at 6:59 AM on May 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's _Sanddornbalance_, and Maedir Eugster is apparently the original choreographer who then passed it on to other members of the Rigolo troupe including Shida. His daughter's tumblr is here; apparently they do mark the branches to give themselves a general guide so that they can do the act faster, but it's still very skill dependent because the balance changes every day.
posted by tavella at 7:06 AM on May 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


Neat. I recently saw Lara Jacobs Rigolo do this at a performance of Circque du Soleil's Amaluna. I had no idea this was a family act, as it were.
posted by metaquarry at 7:13 AM on May 17, 2013


ook, all three of the cited performers are from Circus Rigolo, so I assume this is one of their standard acts.

aaaaaah, that makes sense, thank you. I was wondering where she found sticks that looked so similar to Maedir's; I guess they literally are the same sticks.
posted by ook at 7:59 AM on May 17, 2013


It's beautiful.
The real skill here is not the technical skill of balancing, it's the choreagraphy, the art of performance, the story and the theatre.
All building to an intense moment of release.
I don't think that building that mobile is very difficult to do - it's self balancing.

How about a nod to Alexander Calder for inventing Mobiles.
His sculptures are far more beautiful in real life than in photos.
posted by Drew Glass at 8:28 AM on May 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm hoping someone does a comedy version of this.

That would be the version with my son and me. If I build any free-standing structure in our living room, once my son has spotted it, a timer starts ticking for the end of our "act".
posted by plinth at 8:28 AM on May 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


That was awesome! Thanks!
posted by ashtabula to opelika at 9:30 AM on May 17, 2013


Drew Glass: "I don't think that building that mobile is very difficult to do - it's self balancing."

It's not self balancing at all. You're dealing with a complex system that can easily devolve into catastrophic failure. Think about yourself balancing on something. If you begin to lose your balance you need to move to counter that. Unless you have good control you'll overshoot forcing you to compensate even more. Rinse, lather, repeat and before you know it you have reached a state from which you can not recover.

Most people can probably regain their balance in a simple case like that. But here you're dealing with a thing balancing on another thing balancing on another thing...
If one of the outer elements gains momentum for whatever reason you're basically screwed since it'll be damn near impossible to counter that from a few pivots further in without imparting momentum to other links in the chain. Even if these things are notched and marked... at best it'll make it easy to find the correct point but it won't help much with stabilizing it since notches would only prevent slippage and not tilting.
She has to be very careful to never put more kinetic energy into the system than can be absorbed through friction at each joint.

Her level of control is amazing. Keep in mind that this can't be very light. These look like palm fronds to me and those do have weight. There's a couple of shots where you can notice a slight vibration in the mobile as if her arm muscles are straining and shaking a little.

Having good control and steady movement is one thing. Being able to do it under strain is entirely another.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 10:05 AM on May 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


this strikes me as a sort of "carnival trick" (for lack of a better expression)

The term is "balancing act" - it's a very, very old form of entertainment, and found in carnivals, circuses and vaudville shows. It is, as you'd imagine, very hard to do, and harder still to do with panache and showmanship. Years of study and practice.

It's not stealing an act, it's carrying on a tradition... one that's been forgotten with the decline of live entertainment.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:06 AM on May 17, 2013 [12 favorites]


It's just beautiful. I can't put dishes away lately without breaking a glass, but this performance... oh, the grace.
posted by mochapickle at 9:12 PM on May 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Here's another performer doing the routine. Beautiful.
posted by Lexica at 10:16 PM on May 18, 2013


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