Art, Science + Technology

DMA9 Fall 2007, Section B

Archive for Ashley Brown

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.


What is Math Rock? Why isn’t Math Rock more popular in America?

Until Monday of this last week, I had never heard of math rock. When I first heard the phrase “math rock,” my mind immediately went to thinking that it is a type of music that talks about math, which made me initially turned off from it because I do not particularly like math. Then I thought, it would be illogical to have an entire sub-genre of music based
on songs that just talked about math; therefore, maybe instead of songs talking about math, the instrument playing was based on certain math equations. I was wrong both times because math rock is neither of those things. Math rock is actually titled math rock merely because the instrument playing is so precise. To me, the music was pretty similar to a lot of popular heavy metal today, except the drumming was very crisp.

Even though it is not really my type of music, I still cannot figure out why it is not more popular because it is still a fascinating musical genre. If you read reviews of math rock bands on Epitonic, one can tell that they are highly respected by their fans, so it is my belief that they should become more popular; however, maybe a part of math rock’s greatness lies in the fact that it is kind of hidden. Lots of once great songs become irritating once the radio plays them every hour of every
day; therefore, maybe it is better that a math rock song does not become another make-me-want-to-kill-myself if-I-have-to-hear-it-one-more-time songs.

What is the history of the Golden Ratio? Why is the Golden Ratio so incredible?

I had never really thought about the Golden Ratio until this week in lecture. It is incredible to think that so many things can be simplified to one number. Stars, spirals, architecture, perfect facial structures, sunflowers, etc.; it astounds me that so many natural objects contain the golden ratio. The golden ratio first appeared in architecture when Phidias created the Parthenon statues to show the significance of the golden ratio. Mark Ohm first coined the term “goldener schnitt” (in
English, Golden Section) in 1835. In the early 1900’s, Mark Berr used “Phi” to represent the numerical value of the golden ratio. This title gave recognition to Phidias, for his important contribution to the recognition of the golden ratio. I still do not completely understand how exactly this number exists, and I think that is where it’s incredibility comes from, that fact that it is such a far-fetched, yet completely realistic phenomenon. In lecture, we were even show that statistically the faces of people that follow the golden ratio are seen as the most beautiful. I guess if we were ever to actually define perfection, which I do not think we should do because I do not think it actually exists, but if we ever were to, I think that the golden ratio would define perfection, at least in the physically beautiful sense.