Kinetic Art — More Moire

Winter is ending, and the summer is quickly approaching. This means that it is art grant season! So I’m busy looking at all of my abandoned art projects and figuring out which ones should be turned into reality…

One of my favorite projects (conceptually) that hasn’t been brought to life is kinetic art based on moire interference patterns. When sets of lines overlap, interesting visual patterns arise. When motion is added, the visual effect is extremely dramatic. In the spirit of works by David C. Roy, I’ve always wanted to make my own kinetic art based off of these patterns.

My conceptual workflow has been to create shapes in Inkscape, and then use Processing to animate the shapes to determine their visual appeal before I go and build them. From there, it’s easy to turn an Inkscape vector graphic into a .dxf file for rapid prototyping (water jetting for metal, router for wood, laser cutter for cardboard/plastic) and then we’re off to the races!

Below are some of the concept shapes I came up with, along with their respective animations.

Moire Interference Pattern Concept -- Simple Moire Interference Pattern Concept -- Simple (Animated) Moire Interference Pattern Concept -- Simple II (Animated)

This shape (called ‘simple’) is a pretty straightfoward shape with radial symmetry. The radial lines are curved to the give the shape a handedness so I can create two antisymmetric shapes to overlap with each other. The two overlayed shapes can be rotated in opposite directions to create a scintillating interference pattern (see center box). The rightmost box shows a pattern created from taking two copies of the same pattern and overlaying them rotating at different speeds. This causes each arm to appear to grow thicker and thinner in a seemingly periodic fashion. Click on either of the images to the right to see the animation; the original .svg file is available for editing (or for transferring to a .dxf file) by clicking on the image.

Moire Interference Pattern Concept -- Ellipsoid Moire Interference Pattern Concept -- Ellipsoid (Animated)

This next shape is an experiment with a shape that doesn’t exhibit radial symmetry. This pattern is more reminiscent of moire patterns induced by sets of parallel lines (there Wikipedia article linked above has some great examples of more traditional moire patterns). These shapes are achiral, so there’s no way to make them rotate antisymmetrically. However, just rotation in opposite directions gives an interesting visual effect of the shapes expanding and contracting with varying speeds. As before, the original image is on the left with the animation linked on the right.

Moire Interference Pattern Concept -- Semishape Moire Interference Pattern Concept -- Simple (Animated)

This is my favorite shape so far, which came out of trying to make a round shape that was asymmetric but chiral. Antisymmetric copies of this shape rotating in opposite directions gives rise to a very complex visual pattern that has different feels to it at different points of the rotation. I’m a huge fan of both modes and the different ideas they evoke.

I’m looking forward to seeing how these turn out once they’ve been turned into real objects — I’ll be sure to post updates when that time comes 🙂


~ by asymptoticdesign on 11 February, 2012.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: