In 1997 I designed a sculpture called Phenomenon. It created an optical illusion of a 3d torus or a ball. This was one of my favorite optical patterns. I decided it was time to revisit it and use new tools and techniques to improve upon it.
I first spent lots of time exploring just what made this visual illusion “work”. I started with the original wheel and varied the curves, angles, sizes and number of spokes looking for what would “break” the effect and what would enhance it. The final wheel is slightly smaller in diameter than the original with 2 additional spokes. The new spokes are curved and formed somewhat differently but resemble the original.
My mechanism designs have come a long way since 1997. They are more efficient, quieter, and in some respects simpler. The fruit of this work can be seen most clearly in the increased run time. Phenomenon was a long running piece for 1997 at 15 hours. Dimensions is by far one of the longest running pieces I’ve ever made at around 40 hours of continuous motion per winding. I’ve had the first Dimensions sculpture running continuously for weeks. I wind it once a day. If I miss a day it’s still going the next morning so I get a second chance.