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Leonardo, Vol. 1 I, pp. 223-224. Pergamon Press Ltd. 1978. Printed in Great Britain. KINETIC ART: CONSTRUCTIONS WITH PERSPEX TUBES AND RODS* Rhonda Whitehead** and David Whitehead** We have collaborated in the making of kinetic art constructionsduringthe past 10years. One of us (R.W.) is trained in the visual arts and the other (D.W.) in architecture, and the works we have produced benefited from our different backgrounds [I]. Initially, we dealt primarily with the aspects of coloured light obtained by reflectionfrom components of a construction in motion. We then developed the idea of incorporating colours in the constructions, and we made the first ones in response to an invitation to participate in a British travelling exhibition, ‘Recent Kinetics’, in early 1974[2]. The constructions can be called kineticfloor objects, the first of which, ‘Rotating Tubes and Rods One’, is shown in Fig. 1.It consistsof a frame containing two layers of 23 Perspextubes, 5 and 7.5 cm in diameter and 122cm long. The tubes in the upper layer are parallel and transverse to the frameat intervalsof 10cm.They areconnected by two Fig. 1. ‘Rotating Tubes and Rods One’. Perspex rods and tubes, Letraline tape,sheet metalfiame, two electricmotors, 9 x 132 x 132 cm, 1973. *Based on a text prepared by H. Jan Henket. **Visual artist: architect, 17 Birchington Rd., London, N8 8HP, England. (Received 28 Nov. 1977) Fig. 2. ‘Rotating Tubes and Rods Two’, Perspex rods and tubes, Letraline tape. Dexion metal frame, 12 tungsten-filament architectural strip lights, two electricniotors. 15 x 252 x 72 cm, 1974. continuous 8-mm roller chains and sprocket wheels to two electric motors (manufactured by Crouzet Ltd, Brentford, Middlesex, England) that cause the lower tubes to rotate on their axes in one direction at 3 rpm. Each tube in the upper row rests freely upon two lower tubes and,consequently, rotates in a direction opposite to them. In each of the tubes in the upper row, there is a transparent Perspex rod of 122 cm length. Each rod rotates freely in the same direction as that of the tube containing it. There is a transparent rod that is fixed within each tube in the lower row. Strips of matte Letraline tape (widths 3.2and 6.4mm) are attached to the exterior wall of each of the upper and lower tubes. (The supplier of Letraline tape is Letraset Ltd., London, England.) The tapes have been applied in loose spirals that wind in a right-hand direction on alternate tubes in each layer. The base of the frame below the tubes is a painted (matte white) hardboard sheet (122 x 122 x 3 cm), and the construction is illuminated from above by two spotlights or by two fluorescent tubes. 223 224 Rhonda Whitehead and David Whitehead Fig. 3. ‘Rotating Tubes and Rods Two’ (detail) (cf. Fig. 2). Viewers of the construction can note the different rotations of the tubes, rods and spirals of tape. They can also note shadows cast by these components. ‘Rotating Tubes and Rods Two’ (Figs. 2 and 3) is a modification of the construction shown in Fig. 1. A major difference between them is that the illumination comes from a bank of 12 tungsten-filament architectural strip lights (length 50 cm, dia. 3 cm) mounted beneath the Perspex tubes and rods. Another difference is that the strips of tape contain transparent bright green and yellow colourants and are attached only to the exterior of the lamps. In this work the rods arefixed within the upper and lower tubes at an angle to the axis that varies alternately from one tube to the next. Each set of tubes is tilted at an angle of 10”to the floor; the tubes rotate steadily. This construction is supported by a single Dexion metal frame (supplier: Dexion House, Wembley, England). Two Parvalux motors (8-rpm, type SD 18 are used (supplier: Parvalux Ltd., Bournemouth, England). Viewers have commented that both these works produce the impression of light reflecting from rippling water and that the first seems ‘cool’, the second ‘warm’. Some viewers are intrigued by the mechanical drive we use. Others wonder why we decided to exhibit them at floor level...


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