The Placemaking Special Commendation Award

Ad infinitum

David Glicksman and Moses Journey

United States

Ad Infinitum is a kinetic sculpture that explores the relationship between discrete points and the infinite continuum between them. It is also an attempt to express pure, abstracted animation using as few elements as possible. A row of steel ball bearings with no visible support system, each capable of motion in only one dimension, move as a synchronized group to express sinuous forms and fluid motion. Projected imagery works in concert with the mechanical elements to add further form and color.

From the front the ball bearings seem to move of their own accord, held in place as if by magic. Behind the scenes, each ball is animated via strong magnets attached to motorized belt-and-puley mechanisms. Each motor is controlled by a central computer which also controls the video projections and handles interaction and calibration. Ad Infinitum can run either as a pre-programmed animation or as an interactive installation, with user input determined by the unique needs of the installation environment.

Software: Touch Designer, custom motor control code

Hardware: Linear belt drives, Arduino, rare earth magnets, ball bearings