Seed and Signal

Submitted by Bill Washabaugh

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Project

Client: Private Client

Location: Brooklyn, United States

Completion date: 2018

Artwork budget: $150,000

Project Team

Artist

Bill Washabaugh

Hypersonic

Artist

Heather Blind

Hypersonic

Other

Kirk Gordon

Hypersonic

Overview

Seed and Signal is a permanent kinetic sculpture. It is 6' wide, 4' tall, and 1' deep. It weighs 400 lbs. It is made of pcv plastic, wood, paint, motors, computer code

Goals

Seed and Signal is a kinetic sculpture that explores the dynamics of group behavior. In nature, individuals that crowd together often exhibit dynamics whereby tiny changes in behavior can alter the balance of the group between order and chaos. Following rules modeled on the study of group dynamics in nature, Seed and Signal illustrates the fragile equilibrium created when individuals with a common goal gather together. Sometimes success spreads gracefully, sometimes information fails to transfer, and other times chaos takes over.

Process

Seed and Signal was inspired by the study of fluttering butterflies and the beautiful patterns and colors they create. We found reference in the artworks of Danny Rosin, Tim Prentice, Ned Kahn, and Rob Ley. The color shift effect in this sculpture was created using custom lenticular surfaces, with one face painted glossy copper and the other painted gray. Behind each of the 200 pairs of wings, a motor drives an acme screw mechanism to animate the wings into position.