The Fragility of Complexity

The world today is built upon multiple layers of complex interconnected systems. As time goes by, the illusion of the stability and sustainability of these systems is starting to fade away. This kinetic sculpture composed of hammers and light bulbs invites the viewer to contemplate this delicate balance of complex fragility. Light, glass and metal perform a ritual of periodic motion, carefully choreographed to avoid each other as long as each element of the system continues to function as intended.

The whole piece is driven from one motor with the patterns of motion emerging from different gear ratios. One complete cycle takes around five minutes with different hammers falling in and out of sync along the way. The motion of the machine was sketched in openFrameworks and then designed in Autodesk Fusion 360. Another piece of custom openFrameworks software was used to determine the geometry of the cams that make the bulbs swing. The aluminium parts were cut using a waterjet and the plastic parts were 3D printed in PETG. Only one light bulb was harmed in the making of this piece.

It was originally shown at the Chapel of Santa Joana in the Museu de Aveiro as part of the Criatech Festival 2021 and will be on display at Osteria di Paterno near Florence in 2022. Special thanks to Criatech, Osteria di Paterno and OPO’Lab.

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