Art, Science + Technology

DMA9 Fall 2007, Section B

Kinetic and Robotic Art

What is kinetic art?

Kinetic Art is a type of art which includes parts that are in motion. The moving parts can be operated by a person, wind, air, water, electricity or a motor. In 1913, Marcel Duchamp created the “Bicycle Wheel,” which is recognized as the first piece of kinetic art. Antoine Pevsner and Naum Gabo were the first to use the term kinetic art in their 1920 publication, Realist Manifesto. Perhaps the most familiar and famous kinetic sculpture is the mobile, which was created by Alexander Calder
during the 1930’s. The 1950’s through the 1960’s stand out as the most prominent time period of kinetic art. Some front runners kinetic artists at this time were Yaacov Agam, Arthur Ganson, Len Lye, George Rickey, Bridget Riley, and Jean Tingley. Jean Tingly created a very interesting and elaborate self-destructing kinetic sculpture in 1960. Titled “Homage
to New York,” the fascinating piece of art, which was composed of junk found in Newark dumps, destroyed itself in about twenty-seven minutes on March 17th, in the garden of the Museum of Modern Art. While searching for kinetic art, I found two kinetic artists that really interested me.

One is Bruce Gray, whose “California Dreamin” rolling ball machine I found to be quite striking. I love the way it looks like a miniature version of a mystical roller coaster, something that would be found in “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” The second kinetic artist that caught my eye was Tim Fort, who creates playful and colorful projects that utilize the domino motion. I like his work because it is fun and appeals to all audiences, including children.


Robots: Who is Fast Karl?

In researching robot art, I came across an interesting website about a robot artist named Fast Karl. Fast Karl is a robot that designs abstract art without the use of a programmer. Using his tire treads, he paints across a canvas or paper with acrylic paints. As simple as it seems to put tire treads through paper, his work is actually quite beautiful. I find it incredible that machines can create such beautiful works of art. Even though some say they would not consider art created by robots
actually art, I believe it is as artful as a painting by Picasso. Just because it is not designed directly by a human, it does not make it any less beautiful or artistic.



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