Project Proposal

Daedalum is a kinetic sculpture that resembles a large-scale zoetrope comprised of 3D sculptures. There is something very intriguing in watching an analogue mechanism like a zoetrope magically transform still objects into animated ones, as they suddenly spring to life. The piece explores this illusionary phenomenon of persistence of vision, through the theme of dreams. The sculptures will play out a short sequence of a human head splitting into two and merging back again, reflecting the separation and connection between the conscious and unconscious realms.

The work will be placed in the center of a dark room where it will be the only source of light, setting the atmosphere and stage for its performance. A large cylindrical window will encompass a spinning disk upon which sculptures will be attached. As the disk spins, the sculptures will morph from one frame to the next, animating the short sequence.

The piece is meant to stimulate the viewer through its use of physics and imagery. Through its large scale, the piece will make an impact in the surrounding space with its physical presence and help create the feeling of an immersive environment. Unlike a dream, the viewer has the freedom to move all the way around the piece and view the animation at any angle, consciously controlling their perspective and actions. The focus of the piece will be on the well-lit sculptures, creating a vivid visual sense, which will be opposed by the restricted sense of touch, echoing the intangibility of dreams. The looping, repetitious movement of the animation will create a trance-like vibe where sense of time does not exist, further blurring the line between dream and reality.

The project will explore the realm of illusion, as it is experienced on a physical level through optics and phenomena of the human eye, and on a mental level through thoughts and memories driven by the visuals and feelings. It will focus on the transformation that feels so fluid and ambivalent, yet always constant, as we slip from frame to frame, dream to dream, subconsciousness to consciousness, and back again.

To create this oversized zoetrope, two main components will be created: the outer casing and disc, and the sculptures that will be housed in it. A motor will be attached to the disc, and will keep it spinning at a constant speed. The disc will have sculptures attached to it at equal intervals, one slightly different than the one before it. Each sculpture will be handcrafted using clay, around which a mold will be created, and out of which a cast will be made. Adjustments will be made to each sculpture before it can be molded and cast for the next frame. The work will be placed in a pitch-black environment, and strobe lights in the inside of the casing will be used to slow down the motion enough to allow the human eye to view it.

The most crucial piece of hardware in the piece will be the motor, which will be obviously responsible for the movement of the piece. It is important for the disk to spin at a constant speed, and be able to keep spinning for long periods of time. The motor will also be attached to a control box with a potentiometer knob and on/off switch.

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