Strobokinetische Skulptur

Our eyes are easy to trick. In the presence of light we can perceive visually, in the absence of light we cannot. An alternating presence and absence of light can be created using a stroboscope, something we usually associate with the disorienting environment of a club. A stroboscope is a light which flashes a certain number of times a within a period of time, with a controllable frequency. Because we can only see when the light is on, our perceived reality in the presence of a strobe light turns into a “real life animation” – all the separate images that we perceive whenever the light is on are pieced together to a continuous motion in our minds, like in a stop-motion movie. We can use this effect to create incredible optical illusions.

If we spin a sculpture, which has a special structure abiding the rules of the golden ratio around its own axis, and illuminate it with a strobe light, one such illusion can be created. The frequency with which the sculpture spins and the frequency of the stroboscope must stand in a certain relation to each other. The relation is such that every time the strobe light flashes, and in doing so creates a single “frame” in our real life stop-motion animation, the sculpture has rotated around the golden angle (137.5°) further than in the previous frame. Due to its particular structure, the sculpture appears to be no longer rotating around itself. Instead, the structure seems to be slowly flowing down its sides. The beautiful, almost meditative illusion of a forever growing bloom is created.


Ever wondered why helicopter blades or car wheels seem to stand still, or even slowly spin in the wrong direction, in movies? Same effect, we just took it out of the movies and brought it into reality.



Our video:

John Edmark’s video: